THURAYA BIDS TO REPLACE TRITEL IN TANZANIA

Telecoms

Emirates satellite telecommunications company may soon start providing mobile phone services in Tanzania if the government approves its application to provide new generation services. A source in the Tanzania Communications Commission (TCC) told The East-African in Dar es Salaam last week that the Thuraya Satellite Telecommunications Company has proposed providing mobile telecommunication services via the Global Mobile Personal Communications Satellite through its dual-mode handsets and satellite payphones.

This comes in the wake of the cancellation of the contract with the Malaysian-owned Tritel late last year after it failed to comply with a number of operational conditions. Vodacom, Mobitel, Celtel and Zantel currently provide cell phone services in Tanzania. It is hoped that the entry of a fifth service provider will encourage a competitive market and lead to a reduction in connection fees. Tanzania’s charges are among the highest in East Africa. The source said Thuraya would offer a high-generation satellite cellular (GSM) service and location determination system (GPS) in a single dual-mode handset. The source said TCC had agreed in principle that frequencies that were previously used by Tritel should only be given out to a dual-mode handsets and satellite payphones provider. "We want to get a new-generation provider. Thuraya has the technology we were looking for," the source said.