Joinng the fray

Tanzania Is The Latest African Country To Receive Commercial 5G

By  |  September 7, 2022

Late last month, state-owned Tanzania Telecommunication Corporation announced that it had installed a new high-speed fiber-optic broadband Wi-Fi internet network on the slopes of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak and one of the most-toured sites in Africa. 

Now, Vodacom Tanzania seems to have done one better by rolling out the first-ever commercial 5G network in the East African country. In an attempt to transformationally speed up the nation’s digital voyage, the telco launched the technology in Dar es Salaam, in the presence of Minister of Information, Communications and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye. 

According to data portal Statista, Vodacom is the leading player in Tanzania’s telecommunications market, sitting on 29.4 percent worth of unit shares as of Q4 2021. Airtel and Tigo lay claim to 27.2 percent and 24.7 percent, respectively. As data from 2018 shows, Vodacom has been the dominant telco on the turf. 

While it is deploying the fifth-generation connectivity in numerous sites across the country’s capital city, Vodacom says it aims to expand the network to about 230 locations across the nation, including places like Dodoma, Zanzibar, Iringa, Mwanza, Kagera, Mbeya, and Arusha.

Tanzania’s newly-launched 5G will be made available via the telco’s routers and 5G-enabled devices, with promises of speeds of up to 400 MB per second; plans are en route to increase the capacity to 800 MB per second in the coming months. Once it is fully available, Vodacom claims 1 GB per second would be an obtainable network speed. 

Vodacom was the first telco (barring data-only Rain) to launch 5G in Africa, with a commercial rollout in metropolitan South Africa back in May 2020. By replicating its efforts in Tanzania, it puts the Swahili-and-English-speaking country in the league of nations like Madagascar, Kenya, Egypt, Nigeria, and Togo, among others, that have operational 5G networks.

“Having been first to launch 5G in Africa, this is an exciting milestone in Vodacom’s history as we continue to densify 5G services across our Africa markets, bringing the continent closer to the global digital economy through the latest generation of mobile technology. Congratulations to the Tanzanian team for bringing us one step closer to an inclusive, fully digitized future for all Africans.” Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said in a statement

Per the GSMA’s estimation, by 2034, 5G will add USD 5.2 B to the Sub-Saharan African economy, potentially adding a GDP equivalent of 9.7 percent to the region’s economy. 

Featured Image: Siemens

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