Luxemburg-based pan-African mobile company Millicom International Cellular has taken full control of its Tanzanian network operator MIC Tanzania (Mobitel), by buying out its local shareholders. In a USD1.332 million deal, Millicom has acquired the remaining 16% stake it did not already own after the cellco’s minority shareholders agreed to cancel their call option on the business.
The first licensed operator in the Tanzanian cellular market, Mobitel launched an analogue ETACS network in Dar es Salaam in 1994 and on Zanzibar the following year. GSM services were introduced in August 2001 and its analogue platform has since been phased out and shut down. Although it achieved annual customer growth of around 75% in 2004, Mobitel has seen its subscriber gains consistently outstripped by its rivals, having already conceded second place in the market to Celtel Tanzania in mid-2003.