In a recent visit of a National Assembly delegation to Tanzania, we had a field trip to Viettel’s branch in the country and were told about Viettel’s trademark on the local market - Halotel.

In fact, I had known the trademark “Halotel” before when visiting the Viettel Headquarters in Hanoi. During the visit, Major General Nguyen Manh Hung, General Director of Viettel, showed us to the group’s management and control center that helps the leadership monitor and manage the business and operation of its affiliates around the world, including Halotel in Tanzania. 

Vietnam’s firm brings well-off to locals

We, the Vietnamese National Assembly delegation, were warmly welcomed by both Halotel’s staff and local people in Tanzania.

Although Viettel officially started business in Tanzania only 4 years ago, its “Halotel” has now become a well-known telecommunications trademark in the country.

Most local people know Halotel and many of them are its clients.

Most local people know Halotel and many of them are its clients.

Director of Halotel’s branch on Zanzibar Island Vu Huy Thiem, who has been working in the country for 6 years, said that local people like Halotel because they love Vietnam, and vice versa.

When the Vietnamese people were fighting foreign enemies for national liberation, the Tanzanians chose to be on the Vietnamese side, supporting the Vietnamese people in both material and spiritual terms even though Tanzania also faced a lot of difficulties.

Four years ago, Viettel received a license for its investment in Tanzania from the Ministry of Investment and Planning. On June 3, 2015, Viettel Tanzania Company was founded to invest in a telecommunications network in the country. In October 2015, Viettel Tanzania Company officially provided telecommunications services and Halotel came into being.

Alongside running the local telecommunications network, Viettel also set up Viettel Trading Company to provide local farmers with farming techniques, buy local agricultural products and export them to other countries, contributing to improving local people’s living standards.

At a meeting with Vietnamese Ambassador to Tanzania Nguyen Kim Doanh, the Head of the Southern province of Mtwara said, “Viettel, Vietnam, has made the province more developed and local people richer.”

Today, the network has covered 90% of the country’s territory, including some remote and mountainous localities, and Halotel has become a strong telecommunications trademark on the market.

With great efforts of its staff in the country, the group has successfully invested in the large telecommunications network with 2,500 BTSs and 18,000km of optical cable.

As of mid 2017, Halotel had some 3.5 million subscribers, accounting for 13.5 of the market share and ranking the 4th among the 8 telecommunication services providers in the country.

During its visit to Tanzania last month, the National Assembly delegation led by Deputy Chairman Phung Quoc Hien was briefed on Viettel Tanzania Company’s business and operation. The company’s Director Le Van Dai said that Halotel’s 2017 turnover reached US$ 107.7 million, up by 48% against 2016. The fast growth resulted from its continuous technological innovation and excellent client services system, according to him. 

Promoting both business and corporate social responsibility

Alongside its business, Halotel has well performed its corporate social responsibility in Tanzania over the past years. Although 7 other mobile services providers had run their business in the country before Viettel, thousands of villages, particularly the ones in remote and mountainous areas, had had no access to any telecommunications networks.

When Viettel officially started its operation in the country, it implemented a comprehensive plan to invest in telecommunications infrastructure in both cities and the countryside. The company’s leadership decided that those, who lived in the countryside, particularly remote and mountainous villages, needed very much telecommunications services to escape from poverty and improve their cultural lives.

By now, Halotel has built infrastructure and provided mobile services for locals in 3,100 villages, which had had no access to any telecommunications services before. The company is planning to expand its coverage to all 4,000 remote and mountainous villages of the country by August 2018.

Halotel has also completed its commitment with the Tanzanian Government on building infrastructure to connect local schools to the internet and providing them with free access in three years (2015-18). As many as 450 local schools have benefited from the project.

At this point, Viettel Tanzania has employed 1,500 local people as its permanent workers with good incomes and attracted more than 50,000 others working in the involved industries.

After only 2 years setting foot in the country, Viettel Tanzania won the two titles in the “Tanzania Leadership Award,” namely the “Fastest-Growth Firm of the Year” and the “Telecoms of the Year” in 2016. In 2017, Viettel Tanzania was honored as one of the companies with fastest growth in the Middle East and Africa, and won the “Best New Media Entertainment Product of the Year” award in the “Stevie Awards 2017” held in Spain.

Alongside doing business, Viettel Tanzania conducted a number of programs supporting the local community and government, which totally cost some US$130,000 by the end of 2016. Some remarkable programs included project to support poverty reduction of Lindi province; project to build multi-function classrooms in Katavi province; project to offer school-bags to students in Ruvuma province; assistance package for victims of earthquakes in Kagera province; to name but a few.

In short, Viettel Tanzania Company’s contributions have been recognized and appreciated by both local authorities and people. Over the past years, it has contributed largely to promoting local socio-economic development, strengthening the country’s security and defense, and boosting bilateral relations between Vietnam and Tanzania.

The logo of Halotel features a halo. The logo embodies the African country of Tanzania with much sunlight around the year as well as the working spirit of Viettel’s officials and workers. The Vietnamese military-run group also wants to make positive changes in the African country by investing modern information and communication technology in the country and promoting friendship with the local people.

Written by Tran Van (former Deputy Chairman of the National Assembly Committee on Finance and Budget)

Translated by Thu Nguyen