Tanzania: Relief As Caller Charges Drop


Telecoms interconnection rates between mobile service providers drop from 115 to 34.92 shillings per minute effective today. Meanwhile, the government plans to build a monitoring telecommunication system by June, this year.

Speaking to the 'Daily News' on Thursday, the Deputy Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, January Makamba, hailed the move to reduce interconnection charges, noting that the government plans to build a Telecoms Traffic Monitoring System by June to control and improve telecommunication in the country.

In a bold move, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), last month announced the new rates after reviewing telecommunications charges in the country.Mr Makamba explained that the monitoring system will ensure telecommunication is improved in the country, including monitoring communication time.

He explained that from 2008 to 2009 the telecommunication charges went down after the National Fibre Optic backbone was constructed. However, interconnection rates remained the same. "To ensure that the lowered interconnection rates are enjoyed fully by the public, the government is constructing a monitoring system that will monitor communication in the country. The target is to remove interconnection charges as it's the case in some countries," he explained.

He said that the Telecoms traffic monitoring system will also improve telecommunication in the country and ensure government revenue from telephone service providers in the country. Speaking to the 'Daily News' on the move to reduce and harmonize interconnection rates, TTCL Communications Manager, Amin Mbaga expressed his delight in the wake of the move, which he said is for the benefit of the public.

Mbaga said as much as telecommunication companies are reaping hefty profits, they should ensure the service provided are of low costs to the public, who use telecommunication services to bring about development at individual level and nationally.Airtel Communications Manager, Mr Jackson Mbando affirmed that the telecommunication company will implement the directives, as TCRA has directed.

Although Tigo has started issuing adverts to its users about new offers following the new interconnection rates, the company's Communications officer Ms Jacquiline Nnunduma declined to comment, explaining that she's not the spokesperson for the issue.When announcing the move to reduce call interconnection rates, the TCRA Director General, Prof John Nkoma, said the cost would come down to 32.40/-.

The rate for 2014 will be 32/40 dropping to 30/58 by 3015 and further to 28/57 in 2016. The rate will be 26/96 in 2017. Prof Nkoma said the regulatory body conducted an inquiry involving all telecommunications network operators and other stakeholders as per TCRA Procedures for Rules of Inquiry of 2004.

According to him, the decision was made by a panel of experts from different universities and international organizations after conducting a cost study of each mobile phone firm and coming up with conclusions in accordance with the laws and regulations governing the ICT sector in the country.

Prof Nkoma said while voice call termination rates for 2013 will be 34.90/- down from 115/-, the rate for 2014 will be 32.40/-, in 2015 the rates will be 30.58/- by 2015 and further to 28.57/- in 2016 and 26.96/- in 2017. He said in reducing the rates, the authority had taken into account that interconnection rates across the world have dropped in the past five years.

"We established that the current rates are high and customers are forced to carry either more than one mobile phone or SIM (subscriber identification module) card because of the costs of making a call to a different mobile firm," he said. With the application of the new rates, there will be no need for a person to carry more than one phone or SIM cards.