Tanzania bandwidth costs down ‘thousands of percent’

INTERNET

|
Image: By BiztechAfrica
Tanzania bandwidth costs down ‘thousands of percent’

The arrival of new submarine telecommunications cables starting in 2009, paired with government investment in the national telecommunications backbone, has spurred a revolution in Tanzania that has seen the cost of Internet connectivity drop to as little as 15 US cents a day on a prepaid service.

This represents an effective drop of thousands of percent in the cost of internet bandwidth in the country over the past three to four years, says Anna Kahama-Rupia, managing director of Seacom Tanzania.

She says that before 2009, the USD5,000 to USD10,000 cost for dedicated fixed-line meant that only larger businesses could afford access to broadband connectivity. Internet access for an ordinary private citizen was almost unheard of.

Today, many Tanzanians are paying as little as USD15 a month to enjoy high-speed mobile access to the Internet from their cellphones, including the cost voice calls. This has had an enormous transformative effect on education, entrepreneurship and social life in the country, adds Kahama-Rupia.

Kahama-Rupia says that the change in Tanzania’s telecommunications landscape can be attributed to two major factors: the arrival of new submarine cables in the country, starting with SEACOM in 2009, and a massive effort led by the government to rollout 10,000km of national backbone crisscrossing Tanzania up to the eight countries on its borders.

Before the arrival of Seacom, there was just 300 Mbps of international bandwidth coming into Tanzania for the country’s 50 million people. Today, there is around 10G, a factor that has helped to bring connectivity costs down dramatically.

The government’s USD200 million investment in the national backbone means that this international connectivity reaches into towns and cities right across the country, and even brings it to the doorsteps of Tanzania’s landlocked neighbours. As a result, Tanzania is becoming a major technology and communications hub for the entire region.

Just recently, the state-owned Tanzania Telecommunication Company was awarded a USD6.7m deal to supply 1,244 Mbps of internet bandwidth into Rwanda, a transaction with benefits for both countries. Tanzania is growing its own economy while helping other countries to drive down their communications costs.

Cheaper broadband is also benefiting Tanzania’s education sector, says Kahama-Rupia. The University of Dar Es Salaam was paying USD10,000 a month for 13Mbps of slow satellite connectivity.

Now, Seacom has linked it to the Internet for a fraction of the price and with enough bandwidth to support richer Web apps than the university could before.

More Internet bandwidth also means that there are opportunities to reach young people in remote areas that are underserviced by schools and teachers with e-learning services at an affordable cost.

Government has embraced telecommunications as part of a wider strategy to deliver electronic services including education, healthcare, and e-government to the people. It plans to do so through telecentres spread throughout the country, says Kahama-Rupia.

There is a flurry of innovation underway in Tanzania’s telecommunications market, thanks to lighter regulation of the market and the new national and international cables. Mobile networks have turned themselves into major data players, innovating with services such as voice-over-IP, video messaging and video calling.

African telecommunications operator Smile Telecom recently launched mobile broadband services including live video chat and TV streaming following its deployment of the first commercial LTE 800 Mhz network in Africa.

The impact on Tanzanian consumers and businesses has been remarkable. Before mid-2009, Internet cafes with high access costs were the only viable way for SMEs and ordinary consumers to use the Web, and even corporates and educational institutions had to strictly ration bandwidth, says Kahama-Rupia.

Now, SMEs are trading on the Web, relying on instant messaging, and even using multimedia Web applications for the first time. Many large multinationals are looking at investing in the country for the first time, now that a sound communications backbone is in place. For consumers, social media, mobile banking and other applications are now a part of their everyday lives.

 “The opportunities this has created – economic and otherwise – are enormous. There is reason to believe that we are just getting started. With only an estimated 2.5% of the population having access to the Internet, there is plenty of scope for growth," Kahama-Rupia says.



Share the News

Get Daily Newsletter

Search News

comments powered by Disqus

MORE INTERNET NEWS

Fives alive! ZADotCities achieving key registration numbers

South Africa's ZAdotCities domains of .capetown, .joburg and .durban have notched up impressive totals of over 4 500, 3 500 and 2 500 domain name registrations, respectively.  Read More

Hurricane Electric marks first expansion into Africa with new POP

Hurricane Electric, the world’s largest IPv6-native Internet backbone, has continued its global expansion with the opening of its most recent Point of Presence (PoP) in South Africa. Read More

TEAMS maintenance downtime expected

The East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) cable operators have issued an alert that users may experience downtime from 20th – 28th July . Read More

BICS reports data traffic tripling year-on-year on its global network

BICS, recognised in the wholesale communications market as a top global voice carrier and the leading provider of mobile data services, has reports that its data roaming traffic is tripling year-on-year across its global network. Read More

Mellanox enhances cloud efficiency with 25Gb/s Ethernet connectivity

Anton Jacobsz, MD at Networks Unlimited Mellanox Technologies, Ltd., a leading supplier of high-performance, end-to-end interconnect solutions for data centre servers and storage systems, has announced the availability of Mellanox ConnectX-4 Lx 10/25 Gigabit Ethernet adapters.  Read More

Ubiquitous connectivity, the new norm in Mauritius

Mauritius is the most tech savvy country in Sub-Saharan Africa, says David Bunei, GM: East Africa and Indian Ocean Islands at Cisco. Read More

Vodafone Ghana deepens discussions on IoT

Vodafone Ghana has taken the discussion of Internet of Things (IoT) further by organising a workshop in Accra to dialogue with Ghanaian content and web developers on how to adopt and make good use of the platform that IoT presents.  Read More

Tigo, JI and GES equip teachers on child online protection initiative

Tigo, in partnership with J Initiative (JI), a youth focused non-governmental organisation in Ghana, have committed to protecting children online through policy advocacy, awareness creation, public education and community engagement initiatives. Read More

SEACOM adds peering points in Europe and Africa

SEACOM has added the Deutscher Commercial Internet Exchange (DE-CIX) in Marseille and France Internet Exchange (FranceIX) in Paris to the growing list of European Internet exchange points at which it peers.  Read More

Adapting and adopting the new digital workplace

Anton Jacobsz The explosion of smartphones, tablets and Internet of Things (IoT) devices is transforming the way we communicate, consume services, and manage our personal lives.  Read More

PRESS OFFICES

Sage EnterpriseSAP AfricaTrust PayVMWareSamsung ElectronicsMitsumi DistributionPhoenix DistributionMTN BusinessSchneider ElectricMultichoiceMicrosoft 4AfrikaNetworks UnlimitedArbor NetworksEricssonTigo Ghana

FEATURED STORY

First-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludesFirst-ever Africa Barclays Accelerator programme concludes

Ten fintech companies have concluded the first-ever Barclays Accelerator, powered by Techstars in Africa.

 

IN DEPTH

Ethical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a jobEthical Hacking students can’t get a heck of a job

Botswana ethical hacking students report that they are failing to break into the local job market.