Digital Tanzania launches to drive broadband expansion

23 May 2023

The government of Tanzania has launched the Digital Tanzania project to drive the country’s broadband penetration, which will benefit over 8.5 million people across the country upon completion.

The Digital Tanzania project, which is driving the East African country’s broadband ambitions to achieve 80% penetration by 2025, is supported by the World Bank and mobile network operators, aiming to extend broadband services to 1,407 villages.

There are seven mobile network operators in Tanzania including Vodacom, Airtel, Tigo, Halotel, Zantel, TTCL, and Smile.

“Today we have witnessed a historic event that will see all 26 regions across Tanzania's mainland reached with quality and reliable telecommunication services compared to Zanzibar which was wholly covered in November 2022,” said Tanzania president Samia Suluhu Hassan. “The presence of services is of great significance not only in rural areas but also in town areas as it accelerates development and inclusion politically, socially, and economically as well as for the safety and security of the nation. The implementation of this project is in line with the government’s commitment to improve telecommunication services and facilitate youth with opportunities in the ICT sector.”

Vodacom Tanzania, one of the signatories to the agreement, said the alliance will propel Tanzania into the digital age and change lives through technology.

“To pick one example, we transformed the lives of the villagers in Mundarara, a mining town in Longido district, Arusha region, where communication infrastructure was absent,” said Vodacom managing director Philip Besiimire. “It was achieved through facilitating access to GSM services, broadband, and M-Pesa services thus driving financial inclusion through access to not only peer-to-peer services but also savings, loans, and other life-changing opportunities.”

Vodacom said that when the project is completed it will reach 525 wards, getting 8,179,367 Tanzanians connected and exposed to the wide array of their products and services.

"Over the years we have built thousands of sites across the country out of which 3,429 are 2G sites; 3,066 are 3G; 2,315 are 4G and last year we introduced the country’s first 5G network whereas to date we have built 231 sites in Tanzania's mainland and Zanzibar, connecting Tanzanians, and reaching a broadband coverage of 93% of the population," said Besiimire. "We continue to strengthen our network by widening our broadband coverage and modernizing our 2G sites to meet modern world demands.”