Tanzania - Mergers and acquisitions likely in crowded mobile market

Telecom Investment Research Note


A converged licensing regime has brought a large number of new players into Tanzania’s telecoms market over the past five years. There are now eight operational mobile networks, with at least four other companies preparing to enter the market. The four incumbent operators – Vodacom, Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain), Tigo and Zantel – still dominate the market, but some of the newcomers are showing strong growth rates, while others are losing customers. Unsustainable in the longer term, the year 2010 was characterised by an intensifying price war.

Despite its highly competitive market, Tanzania’s mobile penetration is not above the African average, so there is ample room for further growth. However, significant investment will be required to reach the remaining potential customers, so that consolidation among the large number of operators is likely. Mergers and acquisitions (M&A) may involve the existing major players, or some of those regional operators who do not yet have a presence in this attractive growth market.

This report contains profiles of the major incumbent players and the newcomers, including information about their chosen technology platforms and network rollouts, as well as key market statistics and estimates for 2011 and 2012.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Synopsis
  • 2. Market statistics
  • 3. The major players
    • 3.1 Vodacom
    • 3.2 Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel)
    • 3.3 Millicom (Tigo)
    • 3.4 Zantel
  • 4. The newcomers
    • 4.1 New players under converged licensing regime (CLF)
    • 4.2 Technology platforms, rollouts
  • 5. Tariffs and taxes
    • 5.1 Price war 2010
  • 6. Universal access fund
  • 7. Foreign ownership restrictions
  • Table 1 – Mobile subscribers by operator and annual change – December 2010
  • Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2002-2012
  • Exhibit 1 – Licences issued under the new CLF – 2006 - 2010

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