Tough year for Dar telcos as subscriptions taper off

Telecommunication companies in Tanzania recorded a low growth rate (AGR) by December 2012 compared to statistics recorded by September 2012.

This was mainly caused by a sharp decline in voice telecom subscriptions experienced by September last year in which the subscription dropped to 25.92 million from 28.02.

This is as a result of Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA)’s definition for ‘subscribers’ which states that subscriber inactive within 90 days should not be counted as a customer.

The Market says the mobile penetration rate fell sharply in quarter two of 2012 (Q212) after the market leader Vodacom Tanzania adopted a 90-day activation policy in place of the 215-day policy.

According to the TCRA quarterly telecoms statistics report for December 2012, Vodacom Tanzania recorded a 1.2-per cent growth rate dropping from 2 per cent recorded in September, Airtel Tanzania 1.4 per cent from 2 per cent by September, while Tigo had 0.6 per cent down from 4.4 per cent recorded by September.

Zantel, on the other hand, enjoyed a growth of 4.1 per cent up from 1 per cent recorded in September 2012. TTCL, Sasatel and Benson Informatics recorded a -1 per cent, -10 per cent and -6 per cent average growth rate respectively.

However, despite the dramatic voice telecom subscription decline from the highest 28.02 million reached by June 2012 to 25.92 million by September last year, by December 2012 the number of voice telecom subscription surged by 5.3 per cent from 25.92 by September to 27.39 million.

As per operator, telecom voice subscription for Vodacom Tanzania stood at 9.35 million, Airtel at 8.35 million, Tigo at 6.37 million and Zantel at 3.08 million. TTCL had 221,663, Sasatel 4,810 (as by March 2012) and Benson Informatics only 725.

Statistics show that there has been a stiff competition among operators in terms of quarterly operator’s subscription market shares in which the distribution stands at 34 per cent for Vodacom, 30 per cent for Airtel, 24 per cent for Tigo and 11 per cent for Zantel and 1 per cent for TTCL, revoking Vodacom’s 45 per cent dominance over the past years.

But, Vodacom Tanzania continues to enjoy its dominance in the national traffic operator’s market share (on net calls) by holding a 44-per cent, followed by Tigo 30 per cent, Airtel 22 per cent and Zantel 6 per cent.

On the international traffic market share by December 2012, Vodacom led other operators by having 52 per cent, Airtel 20 per cent, Tigo 16 per cent and Zantel with 10 per cent. In East Africa, Vodacom had 73 per cent, Airtel 17 per cent, Tigo 8 per cent and Zantel 3 per cent.

Currently, Tanzania has reached a 61-per cent of mobile penetration – making it one of the top five countries in Africa with the highest subscription rate as well as an economic destination.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Sturmius Mtweve in Dar es Salaam
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