Viettel to begin operations in Tanzania

phone-africaViettel will start building its national network from 1 November 2014 and is expected to launch its mobile services in July 2015. (Image source: Ken Banks/Flicker)Vietnam-based mobile telecom operator Viettel has announced that it will start operations in Tanzania in 2015, with an aim to expand operations in other East African countries as well

According to a company statement, the Tanzanian government had awarded Viettel a license to build and operate a 3G mobile phone network in the country. Viettel will roll out its network to remote rural areas in line with the Tanzanian government’s objective of connecting the rural areas of the country.

The government expects Viettel to connect about 4,000 villages to mobile phone networks by 2016. The telecom operator will use Tanzania as a path for further investment in Africa, added local reports.

Edith Mwale, telecom analyst at Africa Center for ICT Development, said Viettel will be competing with South Africa’s Vodacom, India’s Bharti Airtel and Zantel in the East African telecom market.

“For a long time, operators in Tanzania, just like other in African countries, have been fighting for customers in urban areas. Viettel’s focus on rural areas will now force other operators to also spread their networks to rural areas or lose out,” Mwale added.

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