THE government has reaffirmed its commitment to create an enabling environment for technology and digital transformation as key factors towards achieving its digital economy agenda.
The Minister for Information, Communication and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye said this during the launch of a mobile phone company, Vodacom’s first 5G technology in Dar es Salaam yesterday.
“This latest development is a welcome milestone and a big step for Tanzania in her digital economy journey and fourth industrial revolution,” he said.
Mr Nape reiterated the commitment of the sixth-phase government under President Samia Suluhu Hassan to create an enabling environment for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) development.
“This is due to the fact that ICT development has a great contribution in addressing various challenges facing the society… Vodacom has showed how this policy can be beneficial by coming up with various services which are useful to the public such as M-mama programme which has helped a lot in saving the lives of mothers and newborns, M-pesa which contributed in the growth of financial inclusion, M -mkulima and many others,” stated the minister.
“Such development teaches us that technology and human spirit can create a better future for all of us,” he further said, adding “the launch of the 5G network is going to be a game changer of how we live and do our things.”
Mr Nape said the government through the Ministry of Information Communication and Information Technology fully supported the private sector in technological innovation.
“Today the world is led by innovation through artificial intelligence, 5G, blockchain, robots and computers because they contribute to solving challenges facing society …I want Tanzania to play a part in these advancements,” Minister Nape said.
He said the launch of the 5G network joins Tanzania with an elite league of countries in Africa and the world which have launched the latest technology. The future is innovation and this is a good step.
“Botswana, Egypt, Gabon, Lesotho, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Kenya, and Nigeria all launched 5G before us, but now we are also on the platform, and it is a big step forward,” he said.
He said through TCRA, Tanzania has embarked on major digital development projects such as constructing the National Fibre Optic Cable network named as National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) in a bid to achieve greater connectivity across the country.
Tabling his ministry’s budget in May, this year, Nape said Tanzania would launch 5G this financial year and yesterday he commended Vodacom Tanzania for making this a reality.
On her part, Vodacom Acting Managing Director Hilda Bujiku said the new technology is transformational development in the country’s digital journey.
“Our promise is to continue using technology to improve the lives of Tanzanians and lead the digital transformation. As we launch 5G we plan to reach 90 per cent of Tanzanians with 3G and 4G by 2024,” she said.
In terms of speed, 5G offers 40 times more speed and efficiency reaching up to 500mbps with enough spectrum. When tested on a mobile device at the launch, the 5G network reached 287mbps within less than 4 seconds.
Addressing the audience, Vodacom Tanzania Director of Network, Mr Andrew Lupembe provided context on why it was important to adopt 5G instead of enhancing 4G.
“4G is good, but due to community demands, there was a need for higher technology with low latency, hence 5G. It will address a lot of challenges in Tanzania,” he explained.
He said Vodacom Tanzania with its partners including Huawei and others is going to roll out over two hundred 5G sites in Tanzania.
Roll out of 5G will start with the establishment of over 200 5G sites in Tanzania’s regions such as Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Dodoma, Mwanza, Iringa, Kagera, Njombe, and also Zanzibar, among other areas by November 2022.