Vodacom Tanzania PLC has signed a contract with The National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) worth US$ 4.59-million that will allow the operator to use the government-owned fibre optic cable infrastructure to enhance connectivity in rural Tanzania.
According to a statement released, this investment comes after an initial investment of US$6,223,500 in October 2021 and is positioned to extend high-speed internet facilities upcountry to reach more underserved areas.
“With expanded internet access to remote areas of the country, more people will be able to access digital facilities, such as health services, education delivery, and agricultural information as well as furthering the growth of financial inclusion nationally,” reads an excerpt from the statement.
This latest deal, inked by Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) Director General, Peter Ulanga and Vodacom Managing Director Sitholizwe Mdlalose, is set to improve Vodacom’s voice and data traffic across lake, central, and southern regions of Tanzania in a bid to transform the country into a knowledge-based society through the application of ICT.
TTCL manages the NICTBB on behalf of the government.
Dr Jim Yonaz, Permanent Secretary of Communication at the Ministry of Information, Communication and Information Technology said “The government’s ICT vision is to get 80% of the population to have access to broadband digital connectivity by 2025. The expansion of the national fibre backbone gets us closer to this goal. 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. We recognise the vital role that mobile operators play in pushing this accessibility closer to the people. We appreciate Vodacom Tanzania and its collaboration in making use of this resource that the country has invested in and making it available to the public.
Mdlalose said, “Vodacom Tanzania aims to transforms the country into a knowledge-based society through the application of ICT while bridging the digital divide as well as strengthening competitive abilities of domestic data and voice operators. This announcement comes to reiterate our commitment as a company to the Tanzania digitisation agenda, and respond to the growing demand for digital services in the country.”
Vodacom Tanzania PLC has been a key stakeholder in the usage of NICTBB infrastructure since 2012, with capacity leasing contract worth US$50-million signed since 2012. Over the five years TTCL, who manage the NICTBB, has worked with the telecommunication company in the country for the use of fibre optic infrastructure.
Elaborating on service delivery on the National Backbone, Sitholizwe went on to say, “As a technology services company, Vodacom Tanzania relies on its high-speed internet service to deliver vital social and commercial services to the country. We have pioneered financial services with our M-Pesa platform, we are on the frontline with educational content on E-Fahamu as well as our recently launched M-Mama program which works to lower maternal and child mortality in the country. Vodacom has also embarked on collaborating with various government organs and ministries, such as TRA, TARURA, TANESCO, and Regional Water Authorities, to deliver digital services to the nation. We are especially happy to have this facility to enable us to spread these services for the benefit of more Tanzanians.”
Ulanga added: “We are happy to see more operators make use of the NICTBB as the infrastructure was developed with the main aim of helping the country realise its ICT agenda. I believe the leased infrastructure to Vodacom will enhance the usage of ICT applications for sustainable socio-economic development including implementation of e-government, e-learning, e-health, e-commerce, and much more locally and globally”.