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
Nigeria’s forex policy hurts ICT business: SpectranetThe Central Bank of Nigeria policy that has taken the dollar out of circulation is hurting business, says Spectranet. Read More
Global Tech Investor Techstars selects its first company from East AfricaUS accelerator TechStars believes Kenya's Bamba Group could be the next AirBnB or Dropbox within the next five years. Read More
WorldRemit raises $45m to drive next phase of growthMoney transfer service WorldRemit has raised $45m in financing from TriplePoint Venture Growth BDC Corp. and Silicon Valley Bank. Pioneering a mobile-first approach to remittances, WorldRemit will use the funds to support its rapidly growing transfer volumes. Read More
Jumia, AXA partner to provide insurance products and services to African customersAXA will become the exclusive provider of insurance products and services through Jumia and other AIG online and mobile platforms in Africa. Read More
Orange to acquire Millicom subsidiary in DRCOrange and Millicom have signed an agreement leading to Orange’s acquisition of Millicom’s operations in the DRC. Read More
Ringier Africa and Asia Pacific get new structure and leadershipRingier is restructuring its international market set-up for the beginning of the new year, with four dedicated teams established for each of the African business models. Read More
Travelstart secures strategic partnership with MTNAmadeus, the global technology investor, has announced a $40m investment in Travelstart in partnership with MTN, Africa’s leading mobile and digital life services operator. Read More
VMware appoints new Regional Director of SSAVMware has announced the appointment of Matthew Kibby as regional director of Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). Read More
More than 700 delegates at Sage’s first African Business Partner Conference in South AfricaSage’s first African Business Partner Conference in SA marks a milestone in Sage’s journey towards becoming the global market leader for integrated accounting, payroll and payment systems. Read More
SweepSouth secures funding from top SA Venture CapitalistsVumela Fund has backed online home cleaning services platform SweepSouth. Read More
FEATURED STORYViber Spreads Good Vibes in Africa with the introduction of public chats
Viber, one of the leading messaging and calling apps with more than 664 million unique users worldwide, has opened its latest social channel ‘Public Chats’ to partners in Africa and the Middle East.
BEST READ NEWS
IN DEPTHPoised for greater heights – Roshi Motman, AfricaCom CEO of the Year Winner
Roshi Motman is not your average CEO. Since taking up the reins as the first female CEO of Tigo Ghana in 2014, she has led the Tigo brand through a remarkable transformation.