Bharti to invest $150 million in Tanzania

Indian operator to expand its network into rural areas of Tanzania

Tags: Bharti AirtelIndiaTanzania
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Bharti to invest $150 million in Tanzania Bharti Airtel will invest in expanding its network into rural Tanzania. (Getty Images)
By  Nithyasree Trivikram Published  July 22, 2010

Bharti Airtel, India's biggest mobile operator, is planning to invest $150 million in the next three years to expand its Zain Tanzania operation.

Tanzanian newspaper, The Citizen, quoted Manoj Kohli, the International chief executive officer of Bharti Airtel as saying that plans are in place to invest $150 million in Tanzania during the next few years to expand its network and services into rural areas.

The investment is mainly targeted at boosting the mobile penetration rates in Tanzania, which Bharti believes is too low. Kohli added that Bharti would continue to operate under the Zain brand, as all of the Zain operations acquired by Bharti will be rebranded in October.

According to Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), the country had a total of 18 million subscribers in March. "With many people having more than one Subscriber Identity Module (SIM) cards, it is estimated that only 12.5 million Tanzanians have mobile phones. We should soon be able to double the number of subscribers from the current 12.5 million to at least 25 million subscribers," Kohli said.

As of March 2010, Zain had 4.7 million subscribers, making it the second biggest operator in a highly competitive market of seven operators, while Vodafone, the market leader, had 7.2 million subscribers.

Kohli added that Bharti has had successful discussions with the government and TCRA to reduce the interconnection charges.

Bharti's recent acquisition of African operations in 15 countries from Zain made it the world's fifth largest mobile phone operator in terms of subscriber numbers.           


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