Telecommunication Firm Moves to Boost Internet Penetration in Tanzania


Tanzania’s Zantel, last week slashed prices for its modems by about 50 per cent, reviving hopes of boosting internet connections in a country that has one of the lowest penetration rates in East Africa. The firm's modems will now be sold at Sh25,000 from Sh49,900, according to a statement from the firm's offices, availed to The Citizen in Dar es Salaam last week.
The company has also doubled the volumes on selected bundles on its 'Z-Connect' internet service, without changing the price. "Our aim is to ensure that more people own personal internet modems to increase internet penetration," Zantel's acting marketing director, Brian Karokola said in the statement.

Recent data, released by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) indicate that Tanzania tails behind fellow East African Community (EAC) member states of Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda in Internet penetration. The country of an estimated 41.8million people has a penetration rate of only 1.6 per cent of its entire population. Tanzania is only better to Burundi where the penetration rate is 0.7 per cent.

With a penetration rate of 10 per cent of its 40 million people, Kenya is on top of all other EAC member states. The country is closely followed by Uganda which boasts an internet penetration rate of 9.6 per cent as Rwanda comes third with an internet penetration rate of 4.1 per cent.The landing of the first fibre optic international submarine cables in the country in 2009 and 2010 was meant to revolutionise the market which, before that point, was completely dependent on satellite connections.

And according to Karokola, Zantel is constantly working towards upgrading its network and increasing the coverage. "We are currently undergoing extensive core network upgrade to ensure we increase internet coverage in suburb areas and outskirts of major cities," he said. Capitalising on the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System (EASSy), for which Zantel is a key partner, the company feels it has the technical muscles of offering greater capacity internet penetration.

"We have huge capacity at our disposal as Zantel is a key partner on the EASSy cable that is now live, and are capable of offering the best and fastest Internet connectivity to meet the demands of both corporate and individual needs," he said.