DAR ES SALAAM Feb 14 Tanzania, east Africa's
second-biggest economy, posted a 0.9 percent annual increase in
the number of mobile phone subscribers in 2016 to 40.17 million,
its telecoms industry regulator said on Tuesday.
Mobile phone use has surged in Tanzania and other African
countries over the past decade, helped by the launch of cheaper
The number of Internet users rose to 19.86 million last year
from 17.26 million in 2015, the state-run Tanzania
Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said in a report.
Mobile money users grew to 18.08 million last year from
17.63 million previously.
Telecommunications is one of the fastest-growing sectors in
the country, which has a population of around 50 million.
Mobile phone operators in Tanzania include Vodacom Tanzania,
a unit of South Africa's Vodacom, Tigo Tanzania, which is part
of Sweden's Millicom, Bharti Airtel Tanzania, and Halotel, owned
by Vietnam-based telecoms operator Viettel.
The country's three biggest mobile network operators -
Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel - are planning for initial public
offerings (IPOs) on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) this
year to comply with a mandatory listing law.
The government hopes the move will bring more transparency
and offer the public a share in the industry's profits.
But analysts say rushing through public offerings could lead
to unsold shares with only Tanzanians allowed to buy them.
(Reporting by Fumbuka Ng'wanakilala; Editing by Aaron Maasho
and Amrutha Gayathri)