Tanzanian operator Zantel has launched its 4G LTE network in Zanzibar, thus becoming the first cellco to offer the technology on the island. According to local site Daily News, the service officially launched on 14 April, with Zanzibar’s Second Vice-President, Ambassador Seif Ali Idd, cited as saying: ‘As shareholders of Zantel, the government of Zanzibar is proud of the advancement Zantel has made over the years, and by bringing this fast internet connectivity to Zanzibar, they present an opportunity for development and advancement to the people of Zanzibar.’ Further, Zantel CEO Mr Benoit Janin has reportedly announced the expansion of Zantel’s 2G and 3G network coverage across mainland Tanzania, with aims to reach more than 80% total coverage of the population in ‘the coming weeks’.
In October 2015 TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate reported that parent company Millicom International Cellular (MIC) had announced its acquisition of an 85% stake in Zantel from Etisalat Group, in the process becoming the second largest mobile operator in Tanzania by subscribers. At that date Zantel operated 2G and 3G services over a network of 545 base transceiver stations (BTS), holding 850MHz, 900MHz, 1800MHz and 2100MHz spectrum for Zanzibar and mainland Tanzania and ownership rights to undersea fibre-optic capacity on the EASSy cable. The government of Zanzibar retained its 15% stake in the company. MIC later said it is keen to strengthen its partnership with the government of Zanzibar to ensure overall improvement of services to consumers.