Tanzanian cellcos to battle for new customers through rural expansion

18 Jul 2012

Tanzanian mobile operator Zantel plans to expand its networks to rural areas as it looks to match rivals which are also ramping up their focus on competing for new users in more remote parts of the country. The East African Business Week reports that competition for business in rural areas is ‘heating up’ amongst the incumbent cellcos, led by the likes of Vodacom, Airtel and Tigo Tanzania. In response, Zantel intends to invest heavily to enhance its wireless infrastructure, including rolling out 3G/3.5G and mobile broadband internet services. Its chief executive Ali Jarsh is quoted as saying that his company is hoping to use the expansion to boost Zantel’s market share to 20% in the next two years, up from its current level of 6.7% at end-March – according to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database. The cellco, once the nation’s fastest growing cellco, shed roughly 12,000 net customers during the first three months of this year for a total of 1.511 million.

Undaunted, Zantel envisages adding a net 4.5 million or so new users in the two-year period, for a total of close to six million and to aid this goal, it has already reduced call tariffs and offerings on its mobile internet services. ‘We have charted out strategies, to make sure that we narrow the market gap with other competitors in the mobile phone industry as well as internet services,’ Jarsh said.