Airtel defends Tanzania deal as state opens probe - Mobile World Live

Airtel defends Tanzania deal as state opens probe

22 DEC 2017

Bharti Airtel hit back at accusations of irregularities in transactions which led to the creation of its Tanzania unit, Reuters reported.

The row erupted earlier this week when Tanzania President John Magufuli questioned the validity of historical deals, which eventually led to the business now known as Airtel Tanzania.

During a televised speech Magufuli claimed the unit, made-up of assets gained from the partial privitisation of Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited, belonged to the state.

In response, Airtel denied any wrongdoing, adding the transaction complied with protocols and was approved by the then government. The state holds a 40 per cent share in the operator.

Authorities in the country are set to investigate the case.

Airtel’s Tanzania subsidiary is the third largest operator in the country by connections, according to Q3 GSMA Intelligence figures, with 10.6 million connections. It trails Millicom’s Tigo and market leader Vodacom.

Africa regrets
The news broke days after Airtel chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal (pictured) branded the company’s “rushed” entry into Africa in 2010 as the biggest mistake of his professional career.

It also follows recent rumours the company was mulling exiting three markets, including Tanzania.

Subsequently, Airtel reaffirmed its commitment to Africa and denied reports it was set to exit markets on the continent. It, however, added it was open to consolidation in a bid to turn around loss-making units.

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Chris Donkin

Chris joined the Mobile World Live team in November 2016 having previously worked at a number of UK media outlets including Trinity Mirror, The Press Association and UK telecoms publication Mobile News. After spending 10 years in journalism, he moved...

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