Vietnamese government-owned telco, Viettel, intends to invest USD1 billion in a new 3G network in Tanzania, according to Reuters. The operator’s chairman, Manh Nguyen, is said to have made the pledge when visited by Tanzania’s president, Jakaya Kikwete, on Monday, with Kikwete cited as saying Viettel will invest the USD1 billion in ‘telecoms and other services.’ The news follows the announcement earlier this month that Tanzania granted Viettel a licence to build and operate a 3G network in the country.
The telco is to offer internet services to schools, hospitals and offices as well as providing low-cost smartphones, and is expected to begin network construction next month, aiming to launch its 3G services commercially in July 2015. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Viettel’s entry into the Tanzanian mobile market will see it competing with four main players – Vodacom Tanzania (serving 37.6% of the market’s 28.33 million subscribers at end-June 2014), Airtel Tanzania (32.7% market share), Millicom Tanzania (23.2%) and Zantel (6.0%) – as well as a number of other providers currently holding very small percentages of the market’s subscriber base. Eight operators now offer 3G services in Tanzania.