UK-based tower infrastructure company Eaton Telecom has opened an office in Tanzania.
Eaton, founded by three top-level telecommunications industry executives, has had its sights set on the booming African mobile market for some time.
The company builds, buys and manages base stations on behalf of cellular operators, a business that is starting to gain traction with African operators.
African telecoms veteran David Hunter will head the new Tanzanian office. Hunter was previously head of Celtel’s Malawian and Sierra Leonean businesses. He has also worked in Zambia and Jamaica.
Tanzania’s mobile market is rapidly expanding, with research by Business Monitor International suggesting the country is set to reach 100% mobile penetration by 2013.
In a less ambitious estimate, Eaton expects the country to have 33m mobile subscribers in four years. Tanzania’s population is almost 43m.
Eaton CEO Alan Harper says Tanzania will need a tower-sharing system to accommodate its eight competing mobile operators, which share 17m subscribers.
“Tanzania is one of the most attractive markets in Africa for a tower-sharing business,” he says. He says operators across the continent are looking to bring down network roll-out costs.
Eaton is also understood to be one of three companies in talks with Cell C regarding the SA operator’s plan to sell its national network of base stations. — Staff reporter, TechCentral