Govt commits support to game changers in communication sector

THE government has reiterated its commitment in supporting the efforts made by investors to bring reforms in the communication sector.

The remarks were made by the Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye when he visited the fiber optic station operated by Airtel Tanzania Limited in Dar es Salaam.

The minister underlined that the government will continue supporting the game changers in the communication sector in the country.

“First of all, let me commend Airtel for the move …..this will bring great reforms to the communications sector in the country, this fiber will make the internet faster and will help to connect people to different countries, so I believe it will solve communication challenges on a large scale,” the minister said.

According to the available information, the fiber station will enable to connect more than 30 countries in Africa after its completion.

Minister Nape added that the presence of 2 Africa Undersea Optic Fiber Cable in the country is a good sign since will provide opportunities for service providers such as mobile networks to make choices on what to use.

“The presence of Underwater Fiber Optic is a good sign as service providers such as mobile networks will have the opportunity to make choices about which network to use, something that can contribute to a decrease in costs and an increase in the quality of Internet services,” he said.

Airtel CEO, Dinesh Balsingh said that the move will be the solution to communication challenges and will bring major reforms in the communication sector.

“We will continue to cooperate with the government to ensure that the citizen gets relief in communication, thus all communication companies can use this fiber to reduce communication cost to the citizen,” Airtel CEO said.

According to statistics by the communications sector regulator – Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), telecommunication services in the country have experienced exponential growth in the last ten years, paving the way for the digital economy to take off as explained by Minister Nnauye during the Ministry budget submission in Parliament.

This evolution signals that Tanzania’s telecom sector enjoys effective competition, particularly in the mobile segment at a time when the government has encouraged foreign participation to promote economic growth and social development.

Policy-wise, government direction and reforms have led to the country having one of the most liberal telecom sectors in Africa. Mobile telephone subscribers in Tanzania tell it all. As of December 2021, there were seven mobile operators in Tanzania comprising Airtel, Halotel, Smile, Tigo Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL), Vodacom, and Zantel.

According to TCRA, as of December 2021, Vodacom had the largest share of telecom subscriptions with 29.4 per cent, followed by Airtel (27.2 per cent), Tigo (24.7pc), Halotel (13.3 per cent), Zantel (2 per cent), TTCL (3.4 per cent), and Smile (0.002 per cent) .

From this data it is clear that Tanzania is the second-largest telecoms market in East Africa behind Kenya with a penetration of 91 per cent of the expected total population in 2022 with 54 million mobile telephone users.

However, in the past ten years, landline subscriptions decreased by 6.9 per cent while mobile subscriptions rose by an average of 8.0 per cent per annum since the year 2011. Undeniably, mobile subscribers in Tanzania have been increasing at an average of 8.0 per cent per annum since the year 2011.

The most notable increase was in the year 2015 when subscribers increased by 24.5 per cent.

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