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Tanzanian government reacquires TTCL holding from Airtel

The government of Tanzania has reacquired a 35% stake in TTCL (Tanzania Telecommunications Corp) from Bharti Airtel, once again giving it full ownership of the operator.

TTCL is Tanzania’s oldest operator and largest fixed line provider, but it has fallen behind rivals in the highly competitive market, retaining just 181,000 connections. Originally announced in May 2015, the government’s acquisition of the stake is an attempt to reverse the operator’s fortunes by injecting new funds.

The country’s top two operators, Vodacom Tanzania and Bharti Airtel Tanzania, have 12.4 million and 11.3 million respectively. With mobile penetration increasing, competition among the country’s seven mobile operators shows no sign of slowing down. Subscriber numbers rose by 25% in 2015, hitting 39.8 million.

Airtel came to hold the 35% stake in TTCL when it first entered Africa in 2010 with the $10.7 billion acquisition of Zain’s African assets. The Tanzanian government had sold the stake in TTCL in 2001, and is now reacquiring the holding – valued at around $7 million – after nearly six years of talks. An agreement has proven elusive over this time due to disputes over the price.

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