Monday, June 16, 2008

Tanzania - HiTs Telecom

Hits plans $500m investment in Dar mobile market

New mobile phone operator Hits Tanzania Ltd plans to invest $500 million in its countrywide coverage within 13 months.

The firm’s chief executive officer Gerhard May, said Hits is targeting a network capacity for initial two million customers in the same period.

The firm has already signed a $180 million deal with its strategic partner Huawei Technologies of China to set up its network in the country.

According to Mr May, the two partners have started work on the network infrastructure as well as on construction works for the mobile switching centre and the firm’s headquarters in Dar es Salaam.

He added that the firm chose to invest in Tanzania because of the potential market, given the low penetration of mobile phones.

Hits becomes the sixth mobile phone operator to enter Tanzania after Celtel Tanzania, Vodacom Tanzania, Tigo Tanzania, Zantel Tanzania and the Tanzania Telecommunications Company.

Hits Tanzania is financially backed by Hits Africa — an arm of Hits Telecoms Holding based in Kuwait — and local investor Jitco.

Hits Africa is rolling out a series of telecommunications operations in Africa and has obtained GSM licences in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Equatorial Guinea and is a shareholder in Atlantic Telecom of Liberia.

Hits Africa will be the second national telecoms operator in Equatorial Guinea, after being picked by the government to establish a converged fixed, mobile and data network throughout the country by 2009. It will roll out 2.5G and 3G mobile networks in the country by the end of 2008.

Hits Telecoms has investments and interests in the Middle East, Africa and Latin America. In Saudi Arabia, the firm is a key shareholder in ITC, the national broadband wireless data network.

Through its subsidiary Qanawat, the group is a major player in the telecoms distribution and service market.

The group plans to expand operations in both Africa and Latin America as well as obtain majority stake in a European operator. Hits America, part of the Hits Telecoms Group, operates in Brazil.

By selling stakes to private equity investors, Hits Africa plans to raise $300 million in capital by end of June. It aims to have between four million and six million subscribers by 2012 in eight African countries.

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