Tanzania launches tender as it looks to cement smartphone assembly plant
In a bid to reduce the high cost of smartphones and extend the national optic fibre backbone to 80% internet users by 2025, Tanzania has released a tender inviting mobile phone manufacturing companies to apply for accreditation to establish a smartphone assembly plant in the country.
According to the tender, the plant will be set up under a Public-Private Partnership arrangement between the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) and a single company or a consortium of companies.
The tender covers all aspects of the plant operation, including design, construction, finance, maintenance etc.
Director General of the country’s Commission for Science and Technology Amos Nungu said the availability of affordable smartphones would revolutionise internet use and help spur economic growth.
Smartphones in Tanzania cost up to Tsh 650,000 (US$280).
According to statistics from TCRA the country is home to over 53 million mobile phone subscribers, but only about 28 million have access to the internet.
Nungu said, “The government wants an inclusive digital economy that will ensure that all people from all walks of life including the marginalised have access to the internet. That is why the government aimed to ensure that the optic fibre is in both rural and urban areas.”
Minister of Information and Communications Technology Dr Faustine Ndugulile said the government will provide relevant policy and a legal framework regarding the operation of the plant once a partner investor is identified.
Local operators have not commented on the development, particularly in so far as it will impact competition within the market.