Name ID 1188
Africa News Online
Extract Date: 1999 December 20
Dar Es Salaam, United Republic of Tanzania - Vodacom Tanzania Ltd was issued a licence to operate a GSM cellular network by the Tanzania Communications Commission in Dar Es Salaam today, following the Commission's decision to award a GSM licence in July 1999.
Some $90 million will be invested in the new network during the first year of operations and 200 direct jobs are expected to be created within five years.
Tanzanian shareholders own 49% of the new cellular network, while South African company Vodacom Group (Pty) Ltd has a controlling interest of 51% and the Chairman's position. Mr. Andrew Mthembu, Managing Director of South African cellular network Vodacom (Pty) Ltd, will serve as Acting Chairman of Vodacom Tanzania Ltd.
Vodacom Tanzania Ltd expects to have covered the following areas in time for the Tanzanian General Election in October 2000: Dar Es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma, Tanga, Arusha, Moshi, Mwanza, Zanzibar, the International Airports in Dar Es Salaam, Kilimanjaro & Mwanza and the tourist areas of the Serengeti.
'Vodacom's network in South Africa was also launched to coincide with a General Election and there will be other similarities between the roll-out of the Vodacom Tanzania Ltd network in Tanzania and Vodacom's South African roll- out,' said Mr. Mthembu.
Mr. Mthembu said this was because the success story of GSM in South Africa had ensured that the South African GSM model was set to become a blueprint for the roll-out of GSM cellular networks across Africa.
'Vodacom Tanzania Ltd's licence conditions are also similar to those of Vodacom in South Africa. For example, Vodacom Tanzania Ltd has agreed to roll- out subsidised community phoneshops in Tanzania's poorest areas, as Vodacom has done in South Africa's underserviced areas.
Vodacom believes it makes sense for telecommunications in Africa to be provided by means of the latest GSM cellular technology, instead of through decades-old copper wire fixed-line technology. When the cost and time taken to lay cables in Africa's underserviced areas is taken into account, cellular makes more sense. Radio is expensive in terms of the initial set-up costs, however the roll-out can take place far quicker. Vodacom Tanzania Ltd's network infrastructure will be supplied by Siemens and Motorola.
'Vodacom Tanzania Ltd will be offering the latest products and services similar to those available in South Africa. This includes prepaid cellular, which we expect to be very successful owing to the cash nature of business conducted in Tanzania,' said Mr. Mthembu.
Vodacom Tanzania Ltd expects to attract some 100 000 customers by the end of the second year of operations. The company will be billing subscribers directly and going direct to market through dealers and wholly-owned stores.
Mr. Mthembu added that Vodacom is looking at all opportunities on the African continent which make economic sense. He said that the company already operates a GSM cellular network in Lesotho in partnership with the Lesotho Telecommunications Corporation.
'A small number of Vodacom employees will be dispatched to facilitate skills transfer, after which the majority of them will return to South Africa, leaving the day to day running of the network in the hands of Tanzanians. This will be a significant boost to the Tanzanian economy,' said Mr. Mthembu.
To illustrate, a study by the World Bank concluded that cellular telephony is an aid to development and a major boost to a developing economy. The World Bank study coincided with findings by international consultants BIS Macintosh, which showed that for every 100 000 cellular Telephone subscribers, 4 340 direct and indirect jobs are created.
Vodacom Tanzania Ltd will operate on the GSM 1800 Mhz and GSM 900 Mhz frequencies. There is presently only one GSM 900 Mhz cellular operator on the mainland of Tanzania and another which operates exclusively on the island of Zanzibar. Tanzania also has an analogue cellular network operator. There is also one government-owned fixed-line telecommunications operator. -0- Note to Editors: GSM Global System for Mobile Communications, the cellular standard employed by Vodacom in South Africa and some 300 cellular networks in 133 countries around the globe.
About Vodacom: Vodacom commenced commercial operations in 1994 and is currently valued at between R40 billion and R60 billion. Vodacom remains the leading GSM cellular network operator in South Africa and has a market share of 60%. The company delivers a service to some 2,6 million South Africans that is an integral part of their daily lives.
Vodacom's R9bn network currently handles 30% of the country's entire traffic volumes and 10% of the African continent's. The network consists of some 4 000 base stations, covers 13 000 km's of national roads, about 80% of the country's population and 52% of the total land surface.
Issued by: Ivan Booth Communications Consultant Vodacom Group Cell: +27 (0) 82 99 06 321 Dot Field Head of Public Relations Vodacom Group Cell: +27 (0) 82 99 00 174 On behalf of: Andrew Mthembu Managing Director Vodacom (Pty) Ltd
Africa News Online
Extract Date: 2000 January 3
Copyright (c) 2000 TOMRIC Agency. Distributed via Africa News Online
The dominant barrier to growth of the Internet in Tanzania is underdeveloped telecoms net work, with its lack of Telephone lines, stakeholders in Tanzania says.
A current study found out that Telephone lines are highly inadequate with 50 per cent of those available found in Dar es Salaam and teledensity of one line for 2200 people in rural areas.
According to the managing Director of ISP Africa Online, Miss Lish Echaria lack of control over the infrastructure on which ISPs deliver their services was a big concern to her company.
She said mid last year the government had promised to create a conducive environment to allow them to expand to other areas.
'We also need financial support and tax breaks to go difficult markets,' she said so in Dar Es Salaam recently when explaining her company's move to deliver Internet services to rural areas.
A vigorous demand of access to the Internet (Net) and provision of related services is unfolding in Tanzania with about ten companies fiercely competing for the current limited client base.
Like the Internet Service Providers (ISP's)most of the Net customers in Tanzania are highly concentrated in Dar es Salaam. Cool Computing has found not. The number of Tanzanian Net users is currently put at 6000 of whom 80 per cent are within and around the three milliion populated-city-of Dar Es Salaam.
One of the six active ISPs in the country's is Cats-Net, which belongs to the CATS Group whose services range from sales of hardware and software, engineering and maintenance, software development to training.
Cats-Net was established three years ago and has connected over 1000 customers. It was expected to increase this base to over 2000 by end of 1999.
As part of our Internet services,Cats-Net offer unlimited Internet access, content comprising home page document, Internet setup/consultancy and Netfax. The latter is fax to fax service which officials say, it enable a customer to save up to approximately 75 per cent on all the long distance faxes via the internet.
Information Technology (IT)'s vendors in Dar es Salaam say they are ready to venture upcountry and start providing services there providing the government creates and enabling environment for such operations in rural areas.
The vendors made such obseveration recently at a round table with donor and the government when discussing issues on rural information and communication technologies (ICT's) whose theme was; ' Building bridges: Private sectors Partnerships to Extend ICTs to rural areas.'
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Infotech Investment Group Ltd., Mr. Ali Mufuruki, says that the government must kick start process through the policy initiatives, investments in essential infrastructure and public education.
'Private sector will take over after viability of investment is assured, ' he said, adding that the government must work in partnership with the private sectors to establish sustainability of ICT services for rural communities.
Mr. Salim Musoma who is the permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Transport says that the fast growth of the IT sector in Tanzania could result in skewed development of communications services.
Authorities say that over 50 per cent of communications are concentrated in Dar es Salaam alone with only 20 per cent of telecoms services available for rural areas.
A survey conducted in the the county shows that over 57 per cent of computer in Tanzania are found in Dar Es Salaam which also account for 80 per cent of the country's 6000 Internet Service customers.
According to Mr. Musoma says the government is aware of the benefits of the ne ICTs and recognises the important role that the private sector can play towards their wider applicability and usage in the country.
On this regard, 'the government has decided to let the private sector be the engine of development in the communication sector and is keen to foster an enabling environment for the purpose,' he says.