Vodacom Tanzania has signed a major fibre investment deal to support the Tanzanian government as it seeks to give 80% of the population access to broadband by 2025.
The contract, worth €4.29 million ($4.59 million), signed by Vodacom Tanzania with The National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB), a national fibre optic cable network, will allow Vodacom to enhance connectivity in rural Tanzania. The deal comes after an initial investment of €5.82 million ($6.22 million) in October 2021.
“We are especially happy to have this facility to enable us to spread services for the benefit of more Tanzanians,” said Sitholizwe Mdlalose, Managing Director of Vodacom Tanzania.
This is welcome news for people living in rural parts of the country. In 2018, the GSMA estimated that less than half of Tanzania was covered by any form of mobile reception. Mobile operators have struggled to provide high-speed coverage in rural areas due in part to a lack of access to energy and the population’s tricky geographic distribution.
The region’s lack of connectivity is having a negative impact on Tanzanians’ lives – and it’s not just about keeping in touch with friends and family. With limited internet access in remote areas of the country, people are less able to access digital facilities, such as health services, education delivery, and agricultural information. It’s also a barrier to financial inclusion, preventing many people in rural areas from accessing mobile banking services like M-PESA.
Since it was founded in 2000, Vodacom Tanzania has used its mobile technology to improve lives across the country. The M-PESA platform is helping improve financial inclusion, while its education platform E-Fahamu is helping provide free resources to students and teachers.
And it was recently announced that the mobile m-mama service developed by Vodacom Tanzania Foundation and Vodafone Foundation, which provides emergency transport for pregnant and postpartum women, will be scaled up from one Tanzanian region to cover more than 50% of the national population across 15 regions.
Dr Jim Yonaz, Tanzania’s Permanent Secretary of Communication at the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology, welcomes this important step towards connecting more remote areas. “We have committed ourselves to this because we want to ensure that all Tanzanians get the opportunity to enjoy the benefits that come with digital connectivity,” he said.