Find Telecommunication expertise in United Republic of Tanzania
- Usage and infrastructure
- Operators and competition
Tanzania’s telecommunications and internet industry is growing particularly in the areas of broadband provision and mobile telephony. There are 6 main telephone lines, 204 mobile cellular subscribers and 10 internet users per 1,000 people (2007).
Mobile telephony has grown very strongly, with fierce competition among the several providers. In contrast, the market for landlines and internet access has remained fairly static; and internet download speeds are very slow. However, a submarine fiber-optic cable linking Tanzania with South Africa is expected to bring much faster access. The technology infrastructure is being further improved with the installation of fiber-optic broadband cable in the areas surrounding the country’s largest cities which, it is hoped, will be extended to all educational institutions around Tanzania. The developments have been funded by the Chinese government and have received some local interest with companies from both Uganda and Rwanda signed up to access the cables. Serious and frequent interruptions in the electricity supply make provision of reliable internet access problematic.
The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (2012-2013) reports that, there are 0.3 fixed telephone lines per 100 people in Tanzania which ranked the country in 139th place out of 144 countries worldwide, between Rwanda (138th) and Chad (140th). In terms of mobile telephone subscriptions Tanzania ranks 126th with 55.5 subscriptions per 100 of the population.
The number of internet users is slightly higher, relative to the rest of the world in 113th place out of 144 with 12% of individuals using the internet. Broadband subscriptions are however very low; less that 0.1 per 100 Tanzanians have fixed broadband internet. In terms of internet bandwidth relative to other countries, the average international internet user in Tanzania has access to a bandwidth of 0.9 kb/s which places the country in 133rd place worldwide.
Since the full liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in Tanzania in after the introduction of the National Telecommunications Policy (NTP) the monopoly which was held, until 1993, by the Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (TPTC) has given way to huge growth in the industry. The Communications Act of 1997 meant that the TPTC was split into three separate bodies: the Tanzania Posts Corporation (TPC), the Tanzania Communication Commission (TCC), and the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd (TTCL) which was privatised in 2001.
The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is the industry regulator and is a statutory body established under the TCRA Act (2003). Upon creation it merged the functions of the Tanzania Communications Commission (TCC) and the Tanzania Broadcasting Commission (TBC).
In 2008 there were four licensed international gateway operators, six licensed mobile telephone providers, two licensed fixed telephone providers and some 40 licensed internet service providers. Some important firms operating in the sector are Six Telecoms, Mobax Telecoms Tanzania ltd and Vodacom Tanzania.
The University of Tanzania, along with other institutions runs ICT courses including diploma and degree courses. NGOs are active in the sector and seek to improve several areas of life for the people of Tanzania including health, education and governance.