First independent mobile tower company established in Tanzania

July 28, 2010 • Mobile and Telecoms, Top Stories

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (image credit: mtulize)

Tanzania’s first independent tower company has opened for business in Dar Es Salaam. Eaton Tanzania will build and manage towers to support mobile operators in a market set to double subscribers to 33 million in the next four years.

Policy reforms in Tanzania have led to the telecom sector becoming one of the more liberal ones in Africa. However, high import tariffs on telecoms equipment and taxes on telephone facilities by various authorities are still placing a burden on investors and operators. Tanzania has two fixed-line operators (TTCL and Zantel) and seven operational mobile networks, with five additional players licensed under a new converged regulatory regime. With four major operators (Vodacom, Zain, Tigo and Zantel) the mobile market is expected to break the 50% penetration barrier during 2010, but subscriber growth is expected to slow to 20%. At the same time, the average revenue per user (ARPU) continues to fall. A new converged licensing regime introduced in 2006 has brought a large number of new players into the market.

David Hunter, Country Manager of Eaton Towers Tanzania, added:

“This is a very exciting time for the mobile industry in Tanzania, which is set for rapid growth. We are open for business now and ready with our extensive expertise and local experience to partner with mobile operators.

“We’ll manage their towers and help them rapidly roll-out new sites so that they can focus on their customers whilst reaping the compelling economic benefits of tower sharing without having to make any additional capital expenditure.”

Eaton is an African-focused tower company that owns, builds, manages and maintains telecom towers for mobile operators. Eaton’s new Tanzanian operation will be led by David Hunter, who has over 15 years experience of building successful mobile operations across Africa. Prior to Eaton, he ran Celtel’s operations in Malawi and Sierra Leone and was managing director of Telcel in Zambia.

Alan Harper, Chief Executive of Eaton explains:

“With a population of 43 million and a vibrant mobile market with 17 million subscribers and eight competing mobile operators, Tanzania is one of the most attractive markets in Africa for a tower sharing business. We are delighted to have established the country’s first independent towers company.

“Mobile operators across Africa are seeking to reduce the cost of a network roll-out. Tower sharing can help them to reduce their asset base, CAPEX and operating costs, allowing them to focus on increasing their coverage and the roll-out of new services to customers.”

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