Tanzania earmarks Tsh6.9bn to bolster local telecommunications
The government of Tanzania has announced plans to increase internet penetration in the country from the current level of 43% to 80% by 2025, to extend access to telecommunications to 173 villages and switch off 2G.
This is according to Faustine Ndugulile, Tanzania’s Communication and Information Technology Minister, who urged operators to migrate to 3G and “other newer connections”.
“We must start switching off 2G technology and allow mobile technologies that accommodate 3G and above. Tanzania should not lag behind in technology growth,” said Ndugulile.
An agreement was signed with the country’s three major telecom service providers — Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel and the Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF) to ensure enhanced telecommunications services in 173 villages spread across 61 wards.
“UCSAF signed an agreement with mobile operators to deliver communication services to 703,000 Tanzanians in 173 villages in the country at a cost of Tsh6.9 Billion,” the Minister added.
According to operators, a significant number of active mobile phones in the country only support 2G and government should consider measures to reduce the cost of newer devices to encourage subscribers to upgrade.
UCSAF’s CEO Justina Mashimba said the agreements signed with the networks are for a period of nine months and will benefit over 700,000 residents. She said about US$2.6- million has been released for the purpose of improving communication service in the country.
According to latest available official data Tanzania has about 50 million registered SIM cards, 29 million customers use mobile money services in the country, and 24 million subscribers access mobile internet.