Sunday, June 08, 2008

Tanzania - seventh operator

Tanzania: Seventh Telecom Firm Enters Market

Excellentcom (T) Limited yesterday signed a $180 million (Sh216 billion) contract with Huawei Technologies of China.

Under the pact, Huawei Technologie will start building Excellentcom's network to enable it to cover the whole country within 13 months.

Excellentcom (T) trades as HiTS Tanzania.

"We are determined to undertake the fastest roll-out plan in East Africa's mobile communication history," said HiTS Tanzania chief executive officer Gerhard May .

His telecommunications company targets to have a network capacity that accommodates an initial two million customers.

HiTS Tanzania is owned by HiTS Africa, the African telecoms investment arm of the Kuwait-based HiTS Telecom Holding KSC, and local investor Jitco and Excelsys.

HiTS Africa controls 65 per cent of the shares in the company and Jitco takes the remaining 35 per cent.

The company obtained licences for national network facilities, national network services and national application services from the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority in September last year.

With the licences, the firm is free to operate in data and voice aspects of mobile communication technologies.

"Consequently, the Tanzania Investment Centre also acknowledges HiTS Tanzania as a major investor in the mobile communications industry, said Mr May.

According to him, the company plans to start its operations by the end of this year and create 500 jobs in the next three years.

It plans to invest $500 million in five years.

HiTS Africa is also rolling out a series of telecommunications operations in Africa using the global system for mobile (GSM) technology.

"We hold GSM licences in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Equatorial Guinea.

We are also a shareholder in Atlantic Telecom in Liberia.

Within five years, the company aims to have operations in more than eight countries," said May.

Tanzania's population is growing at three per cent. The country's subscription for a telephone line is growing at 47 per cent.

HiTS Tanzania becomes the seventh entrant into the country's mobile telecommunication industry.

Other operators are Vodacom Tanzania, Celtel Tanzania, Tigo, Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited, Zantel and Benson Informatics.

Eight million of Tanzania's 38 million population own mobile phones.

But HiTS believes the market is still vast for it to operate profitably.

"With an estimated 80 per cent of Tanzanians not owning mobile phones, there are vast opportunities for HiTS," said HiTS Tanzania chairman Abdullah Mwinyi.

According to him, studies indicate that the number of people owning mobile phones is expected to increase by between 15 and 18 million by 2015.

"We hope we can achieve a market share of 15 per cent in the medium term," he said.

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