Mobile start-up Epocha & Golden Ocean, trading as EGOTEL, has revealed plans to launch commercial services in January 2011, more than two years after it was issued with a national Network Facilities (NF) licence for fixed line and mobile networks. Tanzanian newspaper the Daily News quotes EGOTEL founder and managing director, Mr Abdallah Mnende, as saying the delay in launching is the result of the global financial crisis which adversely affected its investment programme. However, Mnende says the worst appears to have passed, leaving EGOTEL clear to forge ahead with its launch plans. ‘In the next three weeks we will be in a better position to go on air after securing TZS285 billion (USD200 million), enough to launch services in two regions,’ he said. The newcomer paid TZS2.8 billion to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) for its NF licence in November 2008, but anticipates high start-up costs to get the service off the ground. Mnende estimates it will cost between TZS112 billion and TZS140 billion to network the capital Dar es Salaam, alone. On this basis EGOTEL forecasts it will need at least TZS1.5 trillion to properly network the entire country.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, Epocha & Golden Ocean is owned by Singapore’s Bitmap (65%) and the J & AK Group Company (35%). It is thought to be looking to roll out a third-generation mobile network based on UMTS/W-CDMA technology.