Bharti Airtel to pay USD26m to settle Tanzania ownership dispute

11 Jun 2019

Indian telecoms firm Bharti Airtel has agreed to pay TZS60 billion (USD26 million) over a five-year period to resolve a dispute with the Tanzanian government over the ownership of its local mobile unit. Reuters reports that Bharti Airtel also cancelled USD407 million of debt owed to it by Airtel Tanzania as part of the settlement.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in December 2017 President John Magufuli claimed that the cellco was originally transferred from state-owned Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) illegally and started talks to retake what he said was the government’s rightful share of the business. Bharti Airtel said it had received all the required approvals from the state when it bought its stake and had complied with all government rules, but in January 2019 agreed to hand over part of its stake to reduce its shareholding from 60% to 51%, with state ownership rising from 40% to 49%.

Tanzania, Airtel Tanzania, Bharti Airtel