Tanzania's Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has given mobile network operating licenses to five more companies, bringing the tally for the country to twelve. The country now has one of the highest ratios of licenses to potential customers in the world, although with a population penetration level of just 43%, there is space for new companies to grow. The five new entrants are MyCell, Egotel, Rural Netco, Smile and ExcellentCom.
"They are expected to enter the country's communication industry when the process to give them network facility licensees is completed," TCRA director-general John Nkoma told The Citizen newspaper.
"There is an indication that the telecommunication industry is profitable and that's why more companies are entering the market," Mzumbe University economics lecturer Honest Ngowi told BusinessWeek. According to him, the trend is positive but it will reduce tariffs.
The country has seven licensed companies, only three have a sizeable customer base: South Africa listed Vodacom, Kuwait listed Zain and US listed Millicom (Tigo) - while a fourth local operator, Zanzibar Telecom operates only in Zanzibar island. According to the Mobile World analysts, the country has around 17.1 million mobile phone users, representing a population penetration level of 42.9%.
The government passed a controversial law earlier this year that will require any mobile network operating in the country will have to list their shares on the local stock exchange. The companies will have up to three years to list their shares on the stock exchange.