Tanzania Telecoms Market Report

Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband - Statistics and Analyses

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Last updated: 26 Oct 2021 Update History

Report Pages: 173

Tigo exits the Tanzanian telecom market

Tanzania’s telecom sector enjoys effective competition, particularly in the mobile segment. There remains considerable movement within it, with Smart having stopped services in late 2019 and Tigo Tanzania having completed its merger with Zantel. Tigo Tanzania in April 2021 was sold by its parent company MIC as it sought to focus on its operations in Latin America.

The government has encouraged foreign participation to promote economic growth and social development, and policy reforms have led to the country having one of the most liberal telecom sectors in Africa. The government has also sought to increase broadband penetration by a range of measures, including the reduction in VAT charged on the sale of smartphones and other devices, and reductions in the cost of data. Public opposition to a controversial tax on m-money transactions forced the government in late 2021 to reduce charges by 30%.

The MNOs became the leading ISPs following the launch of mobile broadband services based on 3G and LTE. Operators are hoping for revenue growth in the mobile data services market, given that the voice market is almost entirely prepaid and voice ARPU continues to fall. To this end they have invested in network upgrades. A fast-developing source of revenue is from mobile money transfer and m-banking services.

The landing of the first international submarine cables in the country some years ago revolutionised the market which up to that point had entirely depended on expensive satellite connections. Liquid Telecom recently completed a terrestrial cable network linking the East and West coasts of Africa, with an important terminus at Dar es Salaam linking to three submarine cables. In parallel, the government aiming to complete a national fibre backbone network, having signed an agreement by which the incumbent telco TTC can make use of the infrastructure of the national electric supply company Tanesco, and so extend broadband availability to 94% of the country.

BuddeComm notes that the outbreak of the Coronavirus continues to have a significant impact on production and supply chains globally. During the coming year the telecoms sector to various degrees is likely to experience a downturn in mobile device production, while it may also be difficult for network operators to manage workflows when maintaining and upgrading existing infrastructure. Overall progress towards 5G may be postponed or slowed down in some countries.

On the consumer side, spending on telecoms services and devices is under pressure from the financial effect of large-scale job losses and the consequent restriction on disposable incomes. However, the crucial nature of telecom services, both for general communication as well as a tool for home-working, will offset such pressures. In many markets the net effect should be a steady though reduced increased in subscriber growth.

Although it is challenging to predict and interpret the long-term impacts of the crisis as it develops, these have been acknowledged in the industry forecasts contained in this report.

The report also covers the responses of the telecom operators as well as government agencies and regulators as they react to the crisis to ensure that citizens can continue to make optimum use of telecom services. This can be reflected in subsidy schemes and the promotion of tele-health and tele-education, among other solutions.

Key developments

  • Tigo completes merger with Zantel, sells its Tanzanian business to Axian;
  • Airtel Tanzania partners with I&M Bank to provide a mobile wallet overdraft service, sells its portfolio of 1,400 towers;
  • New MTR is agreed to 2022;
  • Halotel aiming for more than ten million mobile subscribers by 2023;
  • Tanzania joins the One Network Area initiative;
  • World Bank approves $150 million loan to develop the Digital Tanzania Project;
  • Tigo Pesa receives the GSMA Mobile Money Certification;
  • Halotel Tanzania launches HaloPesa m-banking service;
  • TTC extends LTE-A service, launches investment program for its FttP project;
  • Government allocates TZS17.5 billion to improve rural telecom infrastructure;
  • Report update includes regulator’s market data to June 2021, operator data to Q2 2021, Telecom Maturity Index charts and analyses, assessment of the global impact of Covid-19 on the telecoms sector, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report

Tanzania Telecommunications Corporation (TTC); Zanzibar Telecommunications Corporation (Zantel); Vodacom Tanzania; Bharti Airtel (Zain); Millicom (Tigo); Benson Informatics Limited (BOL); Sasatel (Dovetel); Africa Online; Raha.com; Tele2; Alink; SatCom Networks; SimbaNet; Afsat; Cats-Net

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