Tanzanian mobile phone services provider Vodacom will have a strong focus on the expansion of services to rural areas, as Managing Director Rene Meza said the scope for growth is great. Meza took the reins just over a year ago, and has already made a number of changes – including appointing more women within the company.
“While the mobile penetration in urban areas is over 80 per cent, the mobile penetration in rural areas is estimated to be only 25 per cent. This means the future growth of the industry will eventually come from the rural areas. Therefore, mobile operators who have the required infrastructure in rural areas will leverage on such opportunities for growth,” Reza said during an interview with Business Standard.
While some changes have been made, Meza added that Vodacom will continue to focus on key areas.
“It has been so far a great journey for us at Vodacom and we are still committed to continue investing and expanding our services and footprint across the country – driving M-Pesa, driving Internet, and still making the basic services – voice and sms available and affordable to all Tanzanians.”
Throughout Africa Vodacom has always been perceived to be one of the most expensive networks to be on, but Reza said that the prices are competitive and that Tanzania enjoys some of the lowest tariffs on the continent.
“If I look at all operators and regionally focusing on the EAC (East African Community) and West, North Africa zones, Tanzania has the lowest data and voice tariffs in Africa. So, yes, prices are competitive. Yes, I have to recognize the fact that we are perceived to be more expensive than other players, but that is not the reality today.”
Vodacom is currently listed on the London and Johannesburg Stock Exchange, so Reza commented that there is no need to list the Vodacom Tanzania on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange.
“I don’t think there is the need of listing at Dar es Salaam. We are listed in Johannesburg and London stock exchanges by our parent companies. As it is, 35 per cent of Vodacom Tanzania is in local hands and we employ over 460 employees directly. However, if the law compelling us comes we will comply but strategically we don’t see the need for listing at the moment.”
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor