Dec. 20, 2016


Do Manh Hung

Tanzania

Do Manh Hung

Managing Director, Halotel

TBY talks to Do Manh Hung, Managing Director of Halotel, on the advantages of being a listed company, potential opportunities in the sector, and his plans for the coming year.

BIO

Do Manh Hung has been managing director of Halotel since January 2016 and concurrently worked as the Deputy General Director of Viettel Global Investment Ltd in Vietnam.

According to a new regulation, telecoms companies will have to list 25% of their shares on the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange (DSE) by the end of 2016. What is your opinion of this measure and what opportunities does it create for investors?

This is a good measure and will create different opportunities for investors. There are two key opportunities for us here: first, Halotel will have the ability to raise a great deal of capital that can be used for further investments in the telecom industry. The second is the advantage to gain more experience, especially in the telecoms industry, and use it to improve our performance, for example in distribution channels, in particular in rural and remote areas. Building up infrastructure will ensure that the quality of the network remains great all the time. In addition, Halotel will be able to learn more about the Tanzanian business environment and gain awareness in marketing and advertising. Our aim is to bring a true telecommunications network and greater benefits to Tanzania.

Penetration of telecoms services in Tanzania is still quite low. What is your assessment of unexploited opportunities for the private sector in the telecoms sector?

Market opportunities are plenty and divided equally among telecom operators. The penetration rate of mobile subscribers in the rural areas is extremely low, standing at 37%. About 70% of the population is distributed in rural areas, so this is an incredible set of potential customers. The challenge that telecoms providers have to face is an adequate return on investment for each base transmission station (BTS) as the rural population is unevenly distributed and each village is far from one another, more than dozens or even hundreds of kilometers away. Therefore the revenues are not enough to offset the cost of investment and operation. Halotel aims to become a true network for Tanzania. Before Halotel invested in the Tanzanian telecoms market, the penetration of mobile services was at extremely low levels: only 37%. There were many remote areas that had not been connected before and prices were high. The quality of internet was poor. With investment experience in other markets, Halotel aims to bring to Tanzania a true mobile network with extensive coverage at the most reasonable prices. At the same time, when several operators enter the market, the level of competition is pushed higher. If telecoms providers want to compete, they must invest more to increase the quality of service and provide the most reasonable price. Therefore, our customers are the ones who have benefited the most. In the short term, Halotel continues to invest more to increase coverage up to 95% of the population. At the same time, at the beginning of next year, Halotel will cover 1,000 villages that had no telecom services, bringing the total number of villages that have a mobile signal for the first-time ever up to 4,000.

What are your goals and expectations for Halotel in 2017?

Halotel plans to cover 95% of the Tanzanian population countrywide before the end of 2016 and to provide 4G services in 2017. The company will deploy services and invest in more than 1,000 villages that had no telecom services before at the beginning of 2017. We will also deploy fiber optic everywhere in the country and make Tanzania the top country in Africa to use the network with fiber optic infrastructure. Based on fiber optic cable, Halotel will make information technology become popular in all areas of social life and will support the development of an electronic system for the Tanzanian government, for example, video conferencing and other ICT solutions to facilitate the government in its management and daily tasks. Halotel's target is to increase the number of subscribers to 7 million before the end of 2017, and to have 3 million subscribers using the Halopesa service before the end of 2017. At the same time, we always consider social responsibilities alongside this development.