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Vietnam’s Viettel says will offer 3G services in Tanzania next July

Vietnam’s Viettel says will offer 3G services in Tanzania next July

Saturday, November 01, 2014, 12:55 GMT+7

Military-run Vietnamese mobile network operator Viettel hopes to see its second overseas 3G services launch around July next year in an East African country, the company chief executive has revealed.

Viettel is slated to start work on 3G network infrastructure in Tanzania this month, and will begin offering services in July 2015, general director Nguyen Manh Hung was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying on Wednesday.

The military-run company will be competing with four mobile network operators in the East African country, Hung said.

The competitors are Bharti Airtel, Etisalat-owned Zantel, Vodacom Tanzania – owned by South Africa's Vodacom – and Tigo Tanzania, which is part of Sweden's Millicom, according to Reuters.

There are also three other mobile operators, the state-run TTCL, Benson and Smart, which have a tiny market share, according to Reuters.

“With its experience and potential, Viettel will help Tanzania become a telecom-developed nation in Africa,” Hung was quoted by the Vietnam News Agency as saying.

In its bid to become a global brand name, Viettel is committed to contributing to the development of Tanzania, he added.

Tanzania is the second overseas market where Viettel will operate its 3G Only brand, along with Peru, according to the general director.

The Viettel-operated Bitel mobile network, inaugurated on October 15 in Peru, is the only of its kind to provide countrywide 3G services in the South American country, according to Viettel.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete led a delegation of ranking officials on a state-level visit to Vietnam from October 27 to 28, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

The Tanzanian delegation paid a visit to Viettel at its headquarters in Hanoi, and was received by Tao Duc Thang, general director of Viettel Global, the unit behind the company’s outbound investment.

Viettel general director Hung was also at the meeting, where he reportedly said Viettel would “invest US$1 billion in telecoms and other services in Tanzania,” according to Reuters, which cited a statement from the Tanzanian President's office.

The company will offer low-cost smartphones and provide free Internet services to schools, hospitals, and offices, the president's office added.

Viettel did not comment on the information.

Tanzania is East Africa's second-biggest economy, and its mobile telecoms sector has grown rapidly over the past decade, driven by demand for 3G mobile services, according to Reuters.

There are about 29 million mobile subscribers, representing market penetration of 64 percent, the British news agency said, citing the country's telecoms regulator.

Tanzania is the eighth overseas market for Viettel, in addition to Laos, Cambodia, Haiti, Mozambique, Timor Leste, Cameroon, and Peru.

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