Zantel targeting sharp increase in subscribers

30 Jun 2011

Tanzanian operator Zanzibar Telecom (Zantel), backed by Emirates Telecommunications Corporation (Etisalat) of the UAE, says it is looking to boost its mobile subscriber base by two-thirds within one year, despite an ongoing price war in the sector that has shaved a considerable amount off overall sector revenues. To achieve its goal the operator, which is based on the nearby island of Zanzibar, is looking to expand its operations on the mainland, although it warns that competition is affecting its investment plans. Reuters quotes the company’s chief commercial officer, Norman Moyo, as saying: The ongoing price wars are the worst thing that has happened in the country’s telecoms sector … The government is losing tremendous revenue and there is a lot of congestion in the networks.’ The COO went on to say that the country now has the lowest mobile tariffs in Africa as a result of the price wars, and that this is having a negative impact on investment appetite. Since mid-2010 Zantel has spent USD15 million in its networks but still has a lot of under-utilised capacity. Moyo says Zantel is now looking to attract new users by targeting younger users and aims to add one million mobile subscribers in the next twelve months. It currently has around 1.8 million users. Zantel is 65%-owned by Etisalat with the government of Zanzibar owning 18% and local Tanzanian firm Meeco International owning the remainder.