‘Smart’ quits Tanzania market

Dar es Salaam. Smart Telecoms has officially closed its business in Tanzania, according to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).

However, efforts to get a comment from the company’s management on reasons for closure proved futile as phone calls – on ‘Smart’ numbers that were being used by the firm’s staff – no longer go through and their offices are closed.

The acting TCRA director general, Dr Emmanuel Manasseh, told The Citizen on the telephone that the network service provider submitted its business closure request in March 2019.

“They wanted an immediate closure in March, but we (TCRA) decided to give them a period of three months so as to give room for customers - who had bought voice, messages and internet bundles – to finish credits,” he said.

Dr Manasseh said the regulator only revoked the company’s licence of selling new credits and other related services.

The company therefore officially closed its business in June 2019. ‘Smart’ started its operations in Tanzania after it acquired what used to be known as Benson Informatics (Bol).

‘Smart’ managed to raise its customer numbers from only 528 subscribers it had inherited from Bol as of June 2015. TCRA figures show that in October 2015, ‘Smart’ reached its pick, with a total of 1,800,169 subscribers, accounting for four per cent of the market share of 38 million subscribers then.

But the number started going down, reaching 1,385,390 subscribers in January 2016 before going further down to 853,390 in October 2016 and further dropped to 132,404 only as of March 2019.

Smart’s exit means that Tanzania now has six telecom companies which are: Airtel, Vodacom, TTCL, Halotel, Zantel and Tigo.

The number of voice telecom subscriptions decreased from 43.99 million in March 2019 to 43.75 subscribers in June.