Mobile threatens Tanzania’s internet cafes
BUSINESS| June 17, 2012, 9:01 p.m.
By Hudson Kazonta, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Owners of internet cafes in Tanzania say they are facing a growing number of technology challenges which may force them to change their billing methods or look to other lines of business.
Among the challenges facing them, they say, is the high data prices they are being charged by internet service providers, the availability of mobile phones which can access internet and the growing availability of modems provided by telecommunications companies.
One such internet café owner is Polyasi Dickson, the owner of the Bright Internet Cafe in Singida Town. He says while the costs of staying in business are increasing, he can not afford to increase his fees. The availability of mobile internet services is a threat to his business, he says.
Dickson says previously, his internet café charged users Tsh. 1500 per hour which is equivalent with 1 USD. “But now it is not easy to get customers, since people changed and started using modems,” he says.
“For example, for Tsh 2000 a Vodacom customer can buy 50MB of data and he or she can use for one month before it expires. In my internet café, Tsh2000 will last for one and half hours only.”
Because of the cost savings, many customers are now changing to modems. Internet cafes are starting to lose customers and seeing a loss every month of its operation.
Dickson says: “The price which is charged by the service provider is still the same while the number of customers using internet cafes is decreasing daily.”
He says when using TTCL broadband services, for downlink speed of 1 Megabyte per second (Mbs), which is unlimited download, the price per month is Tsh. 100,000 which is approximation of 67 USD, but at the end of the day he collects Tsh 90,000/-
“This makes the business too hard to continue with since it doesn’t produce any profits. You still have to pay for house rent, pay for cafe attendants and other charges like electricity bills,” Dickson says.
While he feels the growing availability of smarter mobile phones and modems to access internet is good for development as a whole, this progress is negatively impacting him and others like him.
Internet café owners are being forced to look for other jobs or businesses, since cafés are not producing the profits they did in years past, he says.
Around five million Tanzanians now have access to the internet, and this number is growing rapidly.
MORE BUSINESS NEWS
Umati Capital secures $10m finance line from ApexPeakKenyan financial tech startup Umati Capital has agreed a deal with ApexPeak securing its first line of wholesale capital. Read More
Kirusa acquires Ghana’s Saya MobileVoice messaging and social media apps firm Kirusa has acquired Ghana-based Saya Mobile, which provides instant messaging apps geared specifically for African consumers. Read More
SAP to invest up to $500m in African innovation and growthSAP has announced a long-term commitment to regional expansion, sustainable growth and skills development of up to 10,000 IT consultants in Africa. Read More
Microsoft, UNDP partner to support Ethiopian entrepreneursMicrosoft has signed a collaborative agreement with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), under which Microsoft will provide training and mentorship services to 200,000 Ethiopian entrepreneurs. Read More
Location based services market to reach $43.3bn by 2019A new report from Juniper Research forecasts that the Mobile Context and Location Services market will reach $43.3bn in revenue by 2019. Read More
Garmin calls on buyers in Southern AfricaThe Africa team for Garmin Sub-Saharan Africa will be hosting meetings in Lusaka, Zambia to meet with buyers, potential resellers and business partners this month. Read More
Nomanini secures further $450k for expansionSouth African electronic prepaid service distribution platform Nomanini has received US$450,000 in funding from the IDC to expand outside of Africa. Read More
Africa offers US ‘compelling trade and investment opportunity’Africa offers US multinationals a compelling trade and investment opportunity thanks to the rapid economic growth rates across the continent, says Standard Bank. Read More
PwC investment to accelerate African growth opportunitiesPwC is increasing its investment in Africa and building closer links between PwC UK and PwC Africa, to meet increased demand for professional services as trade activity between the two regions grows. Read More
Kouros Capital Group announces multi-billion Nigerian investment planKouros Capital Group Limited (KCG) has announced that it is making immediate arrangements to bring into Nigeria substantial investment funding, for projects in telecommunications, agriculture, banking, oil and gas and aviation sectors. Read More
FEATURED STORYNigeria’s VAS providers ‘on brink of extinction’
WASPAN chief Simon Aderinlola says unless the regulator intervenes, WASPAN may not have anything left to regulate. Kokumo Goodie reports.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHKenya rolls out e-extension to improve agriculture
In a bid to curb the overwhelmed number of agricultural extension officers in Kenya, the ministry of agriculture is embracing technology with their introduction of E-Extension services, which are aimed at reaching out to over 7 million farmers annually.
COMPANY NEWSSchneider Electric trains 50,000 in energy management
Schneider Electric has trained more than 50,000 people in energy management as part of its BipBop energy access programme.