Canada-based SaskTel International, which was appointed to oversee the operations of national PTO Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) in a three-year, USD5 million Contract Development Network deal in 2007, has pulled out of the contract. Local press reports note the Canadian company’s decision effectively halts in its tracks, TTCL’s latest recovery bid and marks the latest setback for the telecoms firm. In 2001 a consortium comprising the Netherlands’ MSI and DeTeCon of Germany) acquired a 35% stake in the firm from the Tanzanian government, taking over both the board and management at TTCL, but later pulled out. Two years ago, SaskTel received the nod for a three-year management contract covering the operation, maintenance and expansion of the incumbent’s network to improve its financial, commercial and technical performance. The deal was expected to run until July 2010 but SaskTel’s departure raises fresh questions over why a series of privatisation plans for TTCL have derailed.
SaskTel has reportedly submitted a 45-day notice (ends 12 July) notifying its intention to pull out of the deal citing its inability to raise the funding necessary to transform the operator’s fortunes. It says it has failed to secure government guarantees for a USD1.5 million loan for TTCL, needed for various projects.