Tanzania's mobile phone subscriptions rise to nearly 44 million

DAR ES SALAAM, Sept 25 (Reuters) - Tanzania’s mobile phone subscriptions rose to 43.67 million in the three months ending in June, a 4.7% increase from a year earlier, an official report showed on Wednesday.

Vodacom Tanzania, a subsidiary of South Africa’s Vodacom Group, remained the market leader for both mobile phone subscribers and mobile money transfers.

As in many other African countries, mobile phone use has surged in Tanzania over the past decade, underpinned by the availability of cheaper smartphones.

The number of internet users in the East African country rose to 23.14 million in June, up from 22.99 million a year ago, the state-run Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said in a report.

The number of people using mobile money transfers rose to 22.9 million in second quarter from 20.8 million previously.

Vodacom Tanzania increased its share of the mobile phone subscription market share slightly to 33% from 32%.

Other major mobile operators in Tanzania include Tigo, part of Sweden’s Millicom with a 27% market share, Airtel, a unit of India’s Bharti Airtel on 26% and Halotel, owned by Vietnam’s Viettel, with 10%.

Vodacom Tanzania also holds a 41% share of the country’s thriving mobile money business, which handled transactions worth 8.3 trillion Tanzanian shillings ($3.6 billion) in June, according to TCRA. ($1 = 2,293.0000 Tanzanian shillings) (Reporting by Fumbuka Ng’wanakilala; editing by Hereward Holland and David Clarke)