Bharti Airtel to exit fixed line telephony in Tanzania

Our Bureau Agencies Mumbai | Updated on January 24, 2018 Published on May 27, 2015

After almost five years of negotiations Bharti Airtel has decided to exit the fixed line telephony business in Tanzania. The Tanzania's government has agreed to buy back a 35 percent stake in a state-run telecoms company from Airtel for $7.07 million. Airtel had acquired the stake in Tanzania Telecommunications Corp (TTCL) as part of a $10.7 billion pan-Africa deal with Zain in 2010. The Indian operator will, however, continue to hold nearly 70 per cent stake it has in the Tanzanian operator’s mobile phone business.

"Legal procedures are now being finalised for the government to buy back Airtel’s shares in TTCL and regain sole ownership of the company," January Makamba, deputy minister for communication, science and technology, told Tanzanian parliament according to a Reuters report. "The Tanzanian government has decided to regain 100 percent ownership of TTCL in order to rescue the company.”

While Bharti Airtel did not comment on the deal, industry experts said that the exit will have no impact on the company because its main source of revenue in Tanzania is the mobile operations. Bharti Airtel Tanzania Ltd is the second-largest mobile phone operator in the country after Vodacom.

However, the deal could run into rough weather because the main opposition camp in Tanzania has opposed the government’s decision. They have expressed concern that the value being offered to the company for the 35 per cent stake was too high. According to a local media report, the opposition has argued that the Indian company did not make any significant investment in the company. Airtel’s failure to invest had caused damages to TTCL and poor service provision, they said.

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Published on May 27, 2015
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