Tanzania’s telecoms regulator the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has published data showing a significant reduction in the cost of both national and international calls in the country over the last six years for both fixed and mobile networks. The TCRA’s Department of Consumer and Industry Affairs (DCIA) reports that tariffs for local voice calls fell from USD0.25 per minute in 2000 to USD0.11 past year, which it says has benefited many consumers in the sector.

International call rates have also dropped by an average 12% per annum in the same period from USD2.20/minute to USD0.59/minute, while internet service charges have also come down 57% in one year, from USD1.30 per minute in 2005, to USD0.59 last year. The rapid drop in rates last year is being attributed to the removal of Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL’s) exclusivity, which ushered in full market liberalisation and competition in the industry.

In the mobile segment, the picture is similar. Mobile international tariffs have decreased from USD2.76/minute in 2000 to as low as USD0.7 per minute last year, according to the statement. Mobile network operators Vodacom, Tigo and Celtel have reportedly reduced their tariffs to USD 0.39/minute while Zantel has gone one step further, cutting its rates to USD0.31/minute by 2006. Moreover, Vodacom has reduced its international tariff by 74%, Tigo and Celtel by 86% and Zantel by about 90%. The sharp drop in international calls for mobiles is a consequence of the ending of TTCL’s monopoly on the international gateway, which gave mobile opportunity to make choice from the available alternative, cheaper gateways.