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Vodacom Planning Big Push into Rural Tanzania

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Vodacom's Tanzania subsidiary is planning to spend around USD100 million this year expanding its network in rural areas. The investment will also include boosting its mobile money services.

Georgia Mutagahywa, head of corporate affairs told Bloomberg News that it would't expand its network coverage alone, but plans to work with rival networks for joint coverage.

Tanzania's rural population is "where growth will come from in the next decade," Mutagahywa said in an e-mail.

She noted that less than a third of Tanzanians live in towns, compared to the global average of 57 percent, and that lack of infrastructure means that more base stations are powered by diesel than is ideal.

"It is not economically viable for a single operator to roll-out to these uncovered areas," she said. "Tanzania's lack of power infrastructure has a huge impact on the investment we require."

The company has also been linked with a deal to expand its coverage to the island of Zanzibar through a deal to buy the 65% stake in Zanzibar Telecom currently owned by Etisalat.

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Tags: vodacom  zanzibar telecom  Tanzania