Tanzania - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

Executive summary

Tanzania’s government orders suspension of licences to enforce IPOs

The government has actively embraced competition in the telecom market, and has encouraged the private sector despite it having retaken control of the incumbent telco TTCL in June 2016. Foreign participation has also been encouraged to promote economic growth and social development. Policy reforms have led to the telecom sector becoming among the most liberal in Africa. However, high import tariffs on telecoms equipment and taxes on telephone facilities by various authorities are still placing a burden on investors and operators.

Tanzania has two fixed-line operators (TTCL and Zantel) and eight operational mobile networks, with four additional players licensed under a new converged regulatory regime. With four major operators – Vodacom, Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain), Tigo and Zantel – mobile penetration has reached 83% by March 2017. In recent years a price war among these players has adversely affected the smaller operators, which have suffered from customer churn.

The converged licensing regime has brought a large number of new players into the market. The liberalisation of Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephony as well as the introduction of third and fourth generation (3G, LTE) mobile services and wireless broadband networks has boosting the internet sector which has been otherwise hampered by the low level of development of the traditional fixed-line network.

Following the launch of mobile broadband services the mobile network operators have become the leading internet service providers. Operators are hoping for revenue growth in the mobile data services market, given that the voice market is almost entirely prepaid and voice ARPU continues to fall. To this end they have invested in network upgrades. A fast developing source of revenue is from mobile money transfer and m-banking services.

The landing of the first fibre optic international submarine cables in the country in recent years has revolutionised the market which up to that point entirely depended on expensive satellite connections. In parallel, the government is working on the later phases of a national fibre backbone network aimed at connecting population centres around the country.

The government has become more determined to manage the telecom sector more effectively. It has cracked down on counterfeit smartphones, which were thought to account for up to 30% of devices in circulation at the start of the campaign, while in early 2016 the telecom regulator’s board was dismissed after it had failed to update the Telecommunications Traffic Monitoring System (TTMS). This system was expected to deliver up to TZS400 billion to the government annually. In late 2016 a new tax collection system was launched to help generate revenue from telecom services.

The government in September completed a long-term process to reacquire TTCL, buying out the 35% stake owned by Bharti Airtel. Since then TTCL has undergone a restricting exercise and has secured financing to improve its network infrastructure.

Market penetration rates in Tanzania’s telecoms sector – 2016

Market Penetration rate
Fixed-line telephony 0.2%
Internet users 39%
Mobile SIM (population) 83%

Key developments:

  • Government orders suspension of licences to telcos failing to list 25% of shares on the stock market;
  • Halotel Tanzania launches Halopesa m-banking service;
  • TTCL enters m-money market, invests $271 million to upgrade exchanges;
  • Liquid Telecom acquires the ISP Startel Tanzania;
  • GSMA initiates rural tower sharing partnership to provide services to rural areas;
  • TTCL extends LTE-A service;
  • Mobile Number Portability introduced in March 2017;
  • Government sets up Telecommunications Revenue Assurance System (TRASS) to improve telecom tax raising ability;
  • Telecom regulator in March 2017 fined mobile operators for failing to register SIM cards;
  • TTCL secures TZS600 billion loan to enable it to improve its telecom infrastructure and services in rural areas;
  • Vodacom Tanzania updated M-Pesa service with its G2 platform;
  • Tanzanian MNOs improve on full m-money interoperability;
  • Regulator sets voice interconnection rates to 2017;
  • Government allocates TZS17.5 billion to improve rural telecom infrastructure;
  • Report update includes regulator’s market data to March 2017, operator data to Q1 2017, recent market developments.
  • Companies mentioned in this report:

Tanzania Telecommunications Company (TTCL); Zanzibar Telecommunications Corporation (Zantel); Vodacom Tanzania; Bharti Airtel (Zain); Millicom (Tigo); Benson Informatics Limited (BOL); Sasatel (Dovetel); Africa Online; Raha.com; Tele2; Alink; SatCom Networks; SimbaNet; Afsat; Cats-Net.

Table of Contents

  • 1. Executive summary
  • 2. Key statistics
  • 3. Country overview
  • 4. Telecommunications market
    • 4.1 Market analysis
  • 5. Regulatory environment
    • 5.1 Regulatory authority
    • 5.2 National Telecommunications Policy 1997
    • 5.3 National ICT Policy
    • 5.4 Regulatory overhaul
    • 5.5 Electronic and Postal Communication Act 2010
    • 5.6 Telecom sector liberalisation
      • 5.6.1 Converged licensing framework (CLF)
      • 5.6.2 International gateways
    • 5.7 Interconnection
    • 5.8 Universal Communication Services Access Fund (UCSAF)
    • 5.9 Foreign ownership restrictions
    • 5.10 SIM card registration
    • 5.11 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
    • 5.12 Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)
  • 6. Fixed network operators
    • 6.1 TTCL
      • 6.1.1 Privatisation and exclusivity period 2000-2005
      • 6.1.2 SaskTel management contract 2007-2009
      • 6.1.3 Future direction
    • 6.2 Zantel
    • 6.3 BOL (Smart)
  • 7. Telecommunications infrastructure
    • 7.1 TTCL’s fixed-line network
    • 7.2 Wireless local loop (WLL)
    • 7.3 Private networks
    • 7.4 National fibre backbone
  • 8. International infrastructure
    • 8.1 Submarine fibre
    • 8.2 Satellite
    • 8.3 Terrestrial
  • 9. Broadband market
    • 9.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 9.1.1 Market analysis
      • 9.1.2 Broadband statistics
      • 9.1.3 Public internet access locations
      • 9.1.4 ISP market
      • 9.1.5 Tanzania Internet Exchange (TIX, AIXP)
      • 9.1.6 ccTLD management
    • 9.2 Broadband infrastructure
      • 9.2.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
      • 9.2.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Networks
      • 9.2.3 EV-DO
      • 9.2.4 Fixed wireless (WiMAX, WiBro, Wi-Fi)
      • 9.2.5 Satellite broadband
  • 10. Digital economy
    • 10.1 E-health
    • 10.2 E-learning
  • 11. Digital media
    • 11.1 Digital TV developments
  • 12. Mobile market
    • 12.1 Market analysis
    • 12.2 Mobile statistics
      • 12.2.1 Mobile data services
      • 12.2.2 Mobile broadband
      • 12.2.3 Forecasts – mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
    • 12.3 Regulatory issues
      • 12.3.1 Mobile Number Portability (MNP)
      • 12.3.2 Quality of Service
      • 12.3.3 Spectrum auctions
      • 12.3.4 Tariffs
      • 12.3.5 International roaming
      • 12.3.6 Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs)
      • 12.3.7 Network sharing
      • 12.3.8 Roaming
    • 12.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 12.4.1 Digital networks
    • 12.5 Other infrastructure developments
      • 12.5.1 Mobile satellite services
      • 12.5.2 Tower infrastructure
      • 12.5.3 Voice-over-LTE (VoLTE)
    • 12.6 Major mobile operators
      • 12.6.1 TTCL Mobile
      • 12.6.2 Vodacom Tanzania
      • 12.6.3 Bharti Airtel (formerly Zain, Celtel)
      • 12.6.4 Millicom Tanzania (Mobitel, Tigo)
      • 12.6.5 Zanzibar Telecommunication (Zantel)
      • 12.6.6 Halotel (Viettel Tanzania0
      • 12.6.7 Mobile Virtual network Operators (MVNOs)
    • 12.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 12.7.1 Money transfer, m-banking
      • 12.7.2 Mobile TV
      • 12.7.3 M-health
    • 12.8 Handsets
  • 13. Related reports
  • Table 1 – Country statistics Tanzania – 2016 (e)
  • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2017 (Mar)
  • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2017
  • Table 4 – Internet user statistics – 2016 (e)
  • Table 5 – Mobile statistics – 2017 (Mar)
  • Table 6 – National telecommunications authority
  • Table 7 – Interconnection rates – 2012- 2017
  • Table 8 – TTCL financial data – 2010; 2012 - 2014
  • Table 9 – BOL (Smart) mobile subscribers – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 10 – Historic - Fixed lines in service by operator and teledensity – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service by operator and teledensity – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 12 – TTCL fixed lines in service – 2010- 2017
  • Table 13 – Fixed lines in service – 1995 - 2017
  • Table 14 – International bandwidth – 2001 - 2015
  • Table 15 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate – 1999 - 2009
  • Table 16 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2010 - 2017
  • Table 17 – Internet users and penetration rate – 2005 – 2017
  • Table 18 – Historic - Fixed-line internet subscribers – 2001 - 2017
  • Table 19 – Fixed-line broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2017
  • Table 20 – Cable modem broadband subscribers – 2005 - 2016
  • Table 21 – Fixed wireless internet subscribers – 2011 - 2017
  • Table 22 – Pay TV subscribers by platform – 2010 - 2016
  • Table 23 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 1995 - 2009
  • Table 24 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate – 2010 - 2018
  • Table 25 – Mobile voice subscriber market share by operator – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 26 – Average use of services per subscriber – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 27 – SMS traffic – 2012 - 2017
  • Table 28 – Active mobile broadband subscribers and penetration rate – 2008 - 2016
  • Table 29 – Mobile internet subscribers – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 30 – Forecast mobile subscribers – 2018; 2020; 2022
  • Table 31 – Average mobile tariffs – 2005 - 2016
  • Table 32 – TTCL mobile subscribers – 2006 - 2017
  • Table 33 – Vodacom Tanzania subscribers – 2000 - 2017
  • Table 34 – Vodacom Tanzania data subscribers – 2013 - 2016
  • Table 35 – Vodacom Tanzania ARPU ($) – 2003 - 2014
  • Table 36 – Vodacom Tanzania ARPU (TZS) – 2011 - 2016
  • Table 37 – Airtel subscribers – 2002 - 2017
  • Table 38 – Zain Tanzania ARPU – 2002 - 2009
  • Table 39 – Millicom Tanzania mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2017
  • Table 40 – Zantel mobile subscribers – 2000 - 2017
  • Table 41 –Halotel mobile subscribers – 2015 - 2017
  • Table 42 – Mobile money subscriptions by operator– 2015 - 2017
  • Chart 1– Fixed lines in service by operator and teledensity – 2005 – 20189
  • Chart 2 – Pay TV subscribers by platform – 2010 – 2016
  • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers in Tanzania – 2005 - 2018
  • Exhibit 1 – Emergency rescue scheme for Lake Victoria

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