The government of Tanzania has reportedly begun the formal process of taking 100% ownership of national PTO Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL), with the aim of turning it around and making it run profitably. The Citizen newspaper quotes the deputy minister for communications, science and technology, Mr January Makamba, as saying the decision is a key component of its strategy to make ‘turbulent’ TTCL more stable in future. As it stands, TTCL is 65% owned by the government with a 35% holding under the control of domestic mobile operator Airtel Tanzania. The deputy minister said that talks are already underway with its strategic partner in TTCL with the aim being ‘to buy back their shares so that we can completely own it’.
Mr Makamba noted that much needs to be done to reinvigorate one of the country’s oldest companies, including redressing its current lack of capital and capacity to develop more modern technologies. That is not to say that no recent works have been undertaken. As reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in July 2012 TTCL selected NEC Corp of Japan to provide it with ‘last mile connectivity’ communication equipment. The contract tie-up was reached at an investment conference for Southern Africa Development Community members held in Japan. At the time a government spokesman said that TTCL had put measures in place to ensure that there was no repeat of the debt problems the telco experienced when servicing government agencies in the past.