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Country focus:State of ICT development in Tanzania

04 July 2012

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Charles Fripp, Consumer Tech Editor of IT News Africa, outlines the scope and growth of ICT development in Tanzania, which is also one of the top African countries with a high rate of internet penetration.

Tanzania, officially called the United Republic of Tanzania, is one of the fastest growing African nations in terms of ICT development and mobile deployment. With a population of over 42-million, there is an incredible scope for growth in all sectors.
But while the country is on a steady growth path to better Internet connections and ICT, development is still required and improvements made.

IT News Africa compiled a list depicting the general state of ICT in Tanzania, and take a look at the various aspects from the sector.

  •  While Africa’s Internet penetration is only 13.5%, which is way below the world average of 32.7%, Tanzania does rank as one of Africa’s top countries when it comes to the number of users on the net. The country ranks 6th on World Internet Stats’ chart with 5.9-million users, just below South Africa with 6.8-million users.
  • In December 2000, Tanzania only had 115 000 people connected to the Internet, but that number has grown significantly since then. In a recent study, it was revealed that more than 5.9-million citizens now access the Internet on a daily basis, out of the country’s population of over 42-million people. That is a penetration rate of 11.5% of the population.
  • Although the country has a large number of citizens with access to the Internet, the figures for social network Facebook tells a different story. Facebook’s global user numbers are bordering on close to a billion, but Tanzania only had 414 540 Facebook users on 31 Dec ember 2011. That represents a 1% penetration rate.
  • It is no secret that mobile Internet usage is on the rise in Africa, and Tanzania is a good example of that. In 2010, the nation only had 3 150 fixed broadband connections. That is one connection for every 0.001 people, in a country where 5.9-million people have access to the Internet.
  • Tanzania also has a large number of websites registered in Tanzania, with 339 712 that have the .tz Internet TLD. That is 7.79 IP addressed for every 1000 people.
  • Tanzania recently launched their first offering of commercially-available LTE (4G) technology for mobile Internet, beating African heavyweights South Africa. Mobile operator Smile Telecoms launched the service in the capital Dar es Salaam and makes use of the 800MHz frequency band.
  • Celtel Tanzania Limited is the largest telecommunications company in Tanzania in terms of coverage area, and is the second largest operator by numbers – with about 1.7 million subscribers. By volume of subscribers, Vodacom Tanzania is the largest with over eight million.
  • Vodacom Tanzania also became only the second country in Africa to switch on its 3G High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) service, and it was only available in the capital Dar es Salaam. They were also the first and exclusive Tanzanian carrier to launch video call, video messaging and 3G HSDPA USB Modem.
  • Information and Communications Technology in Tanzania is regulated and governed by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), which is an independent authority for the postal, broadcasting and electronic communications industries. The TCRA is accountable to the Communications and Technology Ministry.
  • Tanzania has only one fixed line operator (Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited) and seven mobile phone operators. TTCL is also the oldest and largest fixed line telecommunications company in Tanzania.
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