Key Developments

Vodacom Tanzania Acquires Smile Communication For $27.4 Million to Boost 4G and 5G Rollout Plans

Tanzania’s leading telecom operator, Vodacom Tanzania PLC (VTPLC), has solidified its market dominance by acquiring Smile Communication Tanzania Limited.

The debt-free, cash-free deal, finalized on April 3, 2024, for TZS 68.8 billion ($27.4 million), strengthens Vodacom’s network infrastructure and future-proofs its technology for a competitive 4G and 5G rollout.

This strategic move comes two years after Smile received a rescue deal from Al Nahla Group, a Saudi investment fund.

Vodacom emphasizes the acquisition will enhance customer experience by expanding mobile coverage and capacity.

The agreement grants Vodacom access to Smile’s valuable spectrum holdings, including the 800MHz band and mid-band frequencies.

Additionally, Vodacom will leverage Smile’s existing 4G LTE network, solidifying its presence in key regions like Pwani, Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, and Dodoma. This expansion strengthens Vodacom’s position in the race for wider 4G coverage across Tanzania.

While the acquisition bolsters Vodacom’s infrastructure, the subscriber base increase is expected to be modest.

Vodacom maintains its leadership position with a 30% market share (19.1 million subscribers, December 2023), followed by Tigo, Airtel, Halotel, and TTCL.

Smile, established in 2013, pioneered 4G LTE mobile broadband services in Tanzania.

Now operating under Vodacom’s umbrella, Smile’s infrastructure adds to Vodacom’s existing spectrum acquisitions. Notably, Vodacom secured access to 700MHz, 2.3GHz, and 2.6GHz frequencies in a 2022 auction, further solidifying its spectrum advantage.

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