Friday, February 17, 2017

$100m for Halotel network expansion


By The Citizen Reporter @TheCitizenTz

Dar es Salaam. Halotel is injecting $100 million (about Sh224 billion) into its network expansion and service improvement to rekindle competition for data and voice communication among operators in the industry.

The company said yesterday that the money would be used to improve its services in various parts of the country with affordable data prices being a priority.

This comes at a time, when mobile phone firms are increasingly shifting their attention to data and mobile money transfer services as Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) figures show that the number of internet users – or at least internet-connected devices – has risen from 5.3 million in 2011 to 19.86 million in 2016.

The report, which covers the last quarter of 2016, shows that mobile wireless accounts for 18 million (90 per cent of the total number of internet users in 2016) up from just 3.7 million of all internet users in 2011.

Going by TCRA figures, though the voice subscription market remaines tight during the last quarter of 2016, Halotel emerged as the fastest growing company.

The company, which launched its services in the country in October 2015 and, which is also promoting its 3G data services with its ‘unlimited college student bundles’, netted 344,661 new subscriber identification module cards during the last quarter of 2016 to close the year with 3,439 million subscribers and possess an eight per cent slice of the market share.

The company’s deputy managing director, Mr Le Van Dai, said in Dar es Salaam yesterday with new investment, Halotel would focus on setting up 1,000 more base transmission stations across the country this year.

“With this latest development, Halotel is set to be ahead of other telecommunications companies in Tanzania since we already cover up to 95 per cent of the population with our mobile services,” he said, noting that the 2017 improvements were meant to upgrade communication services, especially the quality and speed of internet among customers and lower the cost.

Mr Dai said with the improvements, the subscribers would be provided with more data bundles at reasonable costs.