AMOTEL, WTL rural network now up and running

World Telecom Labs (WTL) and AMOTEL have announced that the network they have built in rural Tanzania is now live with residents in three remote villages able to make calls and use the internet for the first time.

This innovative project is the inaugural work of AMOTEL, the first licensed Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in Tanzania. AMOTEL was established last year with a mission to embrace new innovations and developments to serve low ARPU rural areas with little or no infrastructure. The company estimates that the current mobile subscriber base is only 28 million out of Tanzania’s total population of 50 million.

The network provides voice and data to three villages in the Mwanga District of the Kilimanjaro region, bordered to the northeast by Kenya. They are a two hour drive along rough road to the nearest modest town and at least seven hours from Dar es Salaam.  Each village has a minimum of 1500 people with ARPUs of around US$2.5. None of the villages have ever been covered by any kind of telephone network before.

WTL’s award-winning Vivada system (Village Voice and Data) has been installed in each village providing both GSM and wifi networks. Each network has a radius of 12km to cover people living outside the village centres.

The Vivada package includes a micro GSM base station secured onto a newly built tower, wifi routers, backhaul integration, billing software, VoIP switches and an SMS server. The entire system runs on less than 200W.

A cyber café and calling cabin has also been built in each village with residents encouraged to adopt mobile money and other transformative applications. Local engineers have been trained to manage the networks locally.

Professor Robert Mabele, The Board Chairman of Mkulima African Telecom Company Limited, MTC-AMOTEL, said “This is a major milestone both for AMOTEL and for Tanzanians in rural areas who want to be able to use their phones, tablets and computers in the same way as people living in more urban areas. 

The people living in these villages are absolutely delighted to finally be able to call their friends and family and to use the Internet whenever they want. I must acknowledge and praise the help and expertise of the WTL team; the quality and reliability of the coverage is exceptional.”

AMOTEL’s networks were financed by the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) as part of its US$9.6 million investment to improve connectivity in Tanzania.

Following the success of these networks, AMOTEL hopes to connect another 50 villages over the next six months and 500 within two years. It is now looking for additional investment to fund these networks. 

Multi-Award-winning WTL has deployments in more than 30 countries in Africa with a well-deserved reputation for excellent service, reliable products and an expert team with extensive experience in Africa.

At The Nigerian Telecom Awards held earlier this month, WTL was named as The Telecom Innovation Company of the Year for Vivada.  In June WTL was the winner in the Connecting West Africa category at the inaugural West Africa Com awards.

WTL’s Vivada system has been specifically developed to provide operators large and small with a cost-effective, quick to deploy and sustainable system for providing voice and data in rural areas.  

WTL Managing Director Leigh Smith said “AMOTEL is building networks which change people’s lives.  It is a company which also acknowledges that while connecting people is important for economic growth and social inclusion, it’s also essential that the networks are sustainable with a solid business case behind them. The challenges in building and maintaining networks in rural areas are well-documented and haven’t changed much over the years.                                                                                                                                                 

Our rural offering has been developed with these challenges in mind and is proving to be very attractive to operators who are looking for sustainable business models for rural networks.”


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