ZANTEL is targeting to connect landlocked countries with fibre optic undersea cables to maximise both the government and the firm revenues.
The telecom, which controls two undersea cables—EASSy and SEAS—with landing point at Zantel Park in Dar es Salaam, wants to make the country a hub in East Africa for internet connectivity via sea cables.
Zantel’s Chief Executive Officer Sherif El Barbary said the aim was to reduce costs and dependence of satellite internet access to carry voice and data services for landlocked countries.
“Talks are underway to enable us (Zantel) to have access to the land fibre cable…once talks are completed will start selling our services to those countries at competitive rates,” Mr El Barbary told reporters over the weekend.
The National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB)—is managed and operated by the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) on behalf of the government. The CEO, who joined Zantel this July, said currently countries like Kenya have connected landlocked countries via their fibre cable a move which Tanzania could as well do.
“Zantel [also] connects majority of mobile network operators [MNOs] in the country to internet services in the world through these submarine cables,” Mr Barbary said.
The CEO said the firm was investing heavily on system upgrading and starting next year customers will get “the value of their money.” “We want to reclaim our position in the market by increasing brand visibility and quality of services.
He added: “we intend to follow where our customers are and give them what they deserve by making sure we manage costs… so we promise bright future for our customers after network modernisation and roll out of new products and service,”
On challenges since the market has six MNOs, the Zantel boss said the road ahead is congested but they will leverage on undersea cables and their 4G coverage to forge forward.
“The future is to amortise what you have,” he said adding that currently their B2B [business to business] controls 25 to 30 per cent of business revenue but want to increase to 50 per cent. “…our marketing strategy for SMEs’ B2B is door to door,” he said.
Zantel market share in June was 3.0 per cent with 987, 848 subscribers, however down from slightly over one million in April, according to latest TCRA report.
The CEO, who was not in position to say the amount of investment in the next five year as they are waiting a nod from parent company, said they want to make Zantel the hub, gateway for international connectivity via sea cable, in East Africa for landlocked countries.