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Telecommunications sector growth in Tanzania

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Telecommunications sector growth in Tanzania

In 2023, the telecommunications sector in Tanzania generated approximately 2.2 billion USD in revenue. This market is projected to experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of over 4 % until 2028, as reported by global data.

Telecommunications sector growth in Tanzania

The report titled Overview of the Telecommunications Services Market in Tanzania attributes the sector’s performance to the increasing contributions of the mobile data and fixed broadband services segments. Additionally, initiatives such as the Digital Tanzania Initiative, which aims to achieve 80 % broadband penetration by 2025 in collaboration with the World Bank and mobile operators, and the adoption of 5G services are expected to drive the market in the coming years.

The Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has reached a significant milestone with completing the Tanzanite Portal system. According to TCRA, this platform signifies the beginning of a streamlined service era for communication service providers.

Tanzanite portal ready to accelerate telecommunications growth

Dr. Jabiri Bakari, the Director-General of TCRA, declared in a press release that the Tanzanite portal signifies a revolutionary leap, « enabling TCRA to serve its customers in an unprecedented manner by integrating communication services applications. This integration offers a comprehensive range of services with simplicity and user-friendliness ».
This state-of-the-art regulatory system significantly enhances the registration processes for communication products and services. The portal will expedite licensing issuance in the communication sector across various sub-sector categories, including: Telecommunications, Internet, Postal services and Broadcasting.

The system is optimized to streamline fee payment procedures, manage customer and regulator feedback, and conduct Know Your Customer administrative procedures, among other essential functions.
Dr. Bakari underscores: « The system heralds a transformative change, and we are confident it will enhance regulatory service delivery, ensuring our stakeholders feel well served ».

Single application window for licenses

The new system enables license applications to be submitted without physical visits to TCRA offices, marking a significant advancement in convenience. This mechanism is a single application window for all types of licenses and electronic device certifications. The Tanzanite portal also incorporates a robust residential address database and dedicated customer service.

This portal is crucial in facilitating effective planning, allocation, and monitoring of postal codes for residential addresses. It manages customer feedback and provides licensed service providers with essential regulatory information, streamlining interactions and ensuring prompt responses.

Dr. Bakari emphasized that the system promotes increased transparency and accountability within the regulatory environment. It simplifies the approval process for electronic devices, and communication license holders can verify service legitimacy remotely, thereby ensuring control over unauthorized communication service providers.

15,000 km of high-speed internet lines by December 2024

Tanzania’s communications sector has witnessed significant advancements over the past six decades, characterized by the completion and expansion of the National ICT Broadband Infrastructure (NICTBB). The country sets its sights on commissioning 15,000 km of high-speed internet lines by the end of 2024, fostering regional connectivity. Government efforts to incentivize foreign participation and implement policy reforms to liberalize the telecommunications sector are pivotal in these developments. Tanzania has notably reduced value-added tax (VAT) on smartphone and device sales and advocated for reductions in data costs. The NICTBB empowers providers to deliver communication services more efficiently, reliably, and cost-effectively, thus accelerating national development.

Increasing mobile subscriptions and services

The infrastructure facilitates the rapid transfer of high-quality data, contributing to the development of the telecommunications sector. Through the NICTBB, Tanzania successfully lowered mobile phone interconnection fees and costs for end-users. Government data from the Tanzanian Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) indicate that as of June 2023, Tanzania had 64,088,651 mobile subscribers, fostering financial inclusion.

During the quarter ending September 30, 2023, mobile money service subscriptions reached 51.7 million. Telecommunications subscriptions have experienced an average annual increase of 8 % over the past five years, while yearly data on internet subscriptions reveal a growth rate of 17 %.

Internet penetration rate expected to reach 80 % by 2025

According to TCRA, mobile money subscriptions in Tanzania reached 44.35 million subscribers by the end of March 2023, showcasing a steady upward trend. This figure has risen from 32.26 million subscribers in 2020 to 44.35 million in 2023.

Regarding the monetary value of mobile money transfers, TCRA statistics from June 2022 reveal an 8.6 % increase. Building on the success of these initiatives, the government is steadfast in its commitment to connect all neighborhoods in Tanzania to the NICTBB by 2026 as part of the strategy to achieve an 80 % Internet penetration rate by 2025.

Kundo Mathew, the Deputy Minister of Information, Communication, and Information Technology, highlights the significant increase in licenses and applications, which have surged by 40 % in one year, from 66 in July 2021 to 111 in November 2022.

Optimizing digital policy in Tanzania

The recent auction of the frequency spectrum in four leading bands is deemed crucial for accelerating Tanzania’s digital strategy, with the country expected to earn 187 million USD from the auctioned spectrum blocks.

Over the years, Tanzania has embraced ICT-friendly policies and established a favorable legal and regulatory framework, including measures such as:

  • The 2003 National Postal Policy (currently under review)
  • The 2003 National Broadcasting Policy
  • The 2010 Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA)
  • The 2015 Electronic Transactions Act
  • The 2015 Cybercrime Act
  • The 2016 National ICT Policy
  • The recently adopted Data Protection Bill
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