Major telecoms continue to lose voice subscriber market share

Data from the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) shows that Vodacom and Tigo fell victim to a downward trend, while Halotel, Smile, TTCL, Zantel and Airtel maintained upward trends.

Vodacom and Tigo therefore lost the combined subscription market share of 5.5%, while TTCL and Zantel were the strongest movers.

Vodacom Tanzania, the leader in mobile telecoms, suffered the most, having lost 3.6% of its market share between 2019 and 2021.

The total number of mobile subscribers in Tanzania closed at 54.04 million in December last year, compared to 51.2 million in 2020 and 47.7 million recorded in the last month of 2019.

Vodacom closed last year with 15.9 million subscribers, or 29.4% market share, compared to 15.6 million subscribers (33%) in 2019, whereas in 2020; the company had 29.4 million subscribers with a market share of 31%.

Ten years ago, Vodacom Tanzania had a 45% voice subscriber market share.

The TCRA report showed Vodacom also lost 175,201 subscribers in the fourth quarter of last year.

However, Vodacom is the market leader in international traffic as it accounts for 66% share, followed by Airtel with 19% share and Tigo is third with 9%, according to 2021 data.

Tigo Tanzania, the third-largest number of customers, gained during the period in terms of subscribers, but its market share declined to 24.7% in 2021 from 26.3% in 2019 and 25 % in 2020.

TCRA data shows Tigo closed last year with 13.3 million subscribers, up from 12.5 million in 2019 and 13.0 million in 2020.

During the fourth quarter of last year, Tigo added 37,250 new onboard subscribers.

The best driver during the period under review was Halotel Tanzania, which managed to increase its subscriber market share from 3% to 13.3% in 2021, compared to 10% in 2019 and 13% in 2020.

Halotel Tanzania closed last year with 7.2 million subscribers, compared to 4.6 million in 2019 and 6.8 million subscribers in 2020.

However, during the fourth quarter of last year, the telecommunications company lost 171,914 subscribers.

TTCL was the second best driver, having increased its market share to 3.4% in 2021 from 2% in 2019 and 2020.

The government, 100% owned by TTCL, which offers fixed and mobile telecommunications services, managed to double the number of its subscribers from 0.9 million in 2019 to 1.8 million in 2021.

During the fourth quarter of last year, TTCL registered 331,958 additional subscribers.

However, the number of fixed telecom subscribers in Tanzania fell to 71,834 at the end of last year from 77,048 registered in 2019.

Airtel Tanzania, the second network in terms of subscribers behind Vodacom, saw its share of subscribers increase to 27.2% in 2021 from 26.6% in 2019 and 27% at the end of 2020.

The number of telecommunications network subscribers rose to 14.7 million last year, from 12.7 million in 2019 and 13.8 million in 2020, according to the TCRA.

During the fourth quarter of last year, Airtel welcomed 50,262 new subscribers.

Smile Tanzania’s subscriber market share fell to 0.02% at the end of last year from 0% in 2019 and 0.02% in 2020.

As of December last year, Smile had 11,600 subscribers, an increase from 1,222 subscribers in 2019 and a decrease from 12,395 subscribers in 2020.

Zantel’s market share remained unchanged at 2% during the review period, despite increasing its subscribers to 1.1 million in 2021 from 1.0 in 2020.