Innovation Drives Telecom into Leading Position in Tanzania

By Iminza Keboge
Published April 26, 2016

Diego Gutierrez, General Manager, Tigo TanzaniaTigo is now the second largest player in the Tanzanian telecom market.

According to Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA)’s statistics for the last quarter in 2015, Tigo Tanzania has recorded the fastest growth rate among telecommunications operators over the past 24 months.

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TCRA’s report, titled “The Performance in Tanzania’s Telecom Industry’, shows that, out of the 6.7 million total industry growth during the period, Tigo grew by 2.5 million which is equivalent to 37%. In two years, the company scooped 4.4 million of 11.4 million in total growth. This is the highest growth rate in the telecom sector.

Tigo increased its traffic by 2.3 billion minutes while its total market grew by 2.8 billion, compared to Vodacom which dropped by 1.5 billion while Airtel grew by 1.5 billion. This gave Tigo 28% market share after Vodacom’s 32%. Though Airtel had a similar market share with Tigo, the former has 68,486 fewer subscribers than the latter’s 11,115,991.

Tigo Pesa pays dividends to customersDiego Gutierrez, the Tigo General Manager, lists affordability, innovation, digital financial initiatives, mammoth investments, and the launch of 4G LTE, the country’s fastest mobile internet connection and extensive network expansion as being among the factors that are driving the growth of his company.

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Vodacom, Tanzania's mobile telephony market share leaderThe introduction of free access to the social media for Tigo customers, including Facebook in Kiswahili, Smartphone with the menu in Kiswahili, and free WhatsApp messaging application service, can also explain the popularity of Tigo in the largely Kiswahili-speaking East African country.

Gutierrez says Tigo is investing more than US$120 million per year, mainly on network infrastructure, quality improvement and the roll out of new sites.

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Airtel, Tanzania's third largest telecomThe closeness of Tigo to the customers–more than 50 customer-care shops in many parts of the country–could explain Tigo’s growth that has eaten into Vodacom’s 45% market share, reducing it to 32% in 24 months. Tigo is said to be at the forefront in supporting community projects through sponsorships and CSR initiatives such as Mobile Birth Registration; support for local artists through Tigo Music platform; provision of scholarships to ICT students in higher learning institutions and through Tigo Changemakers, an innovative social initiative that identifies, empowers and mentors talented youth to enable them achieve their dreams through offering digital solutions that create bigger impact in the community.

“Tigo has a strong corporate social responsibility programme that supports a wide range of activities within the focus of education, health and wellbeing and environment that is meant to contribute to improving the lives of people in the community it serves,” Gutierez says.