Tanzania signs agreements to extend telecommunications services to millions in rural areas

On May 13, 2023, agreements for rural telecommunications projects were signed in the presence of Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan that would provide 8.5 million individuals without network connections with communication services. 

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In a significant step towards bridging the digital divide, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan oversaw the signing of agreements on 13 May 2023 for rural telecommunications projects aimed at providing communication services to 8.5 million previously unconnected individuals.

According to the Minister for Information, Communication, and ICT, Mr Nape Nnauye, the contracts will see five telecommunications companies construct 758 new towers worth Sh265.3 billion in 713 wards on the mainland and upgrade about 304 other towers that currently offer 2G internet services to 3G and 4G. The telcos carry out the projects in collaboration with the government, which contributes up to 40% of the funding in the form of grants, with the mobile network operators covering the remaining 60%.

The projects are carried out through the state-run Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF), which was created with the goal of providing and achieving communication services for residents living in a select number of urban areas and a sizable number of remote rural areas without any commercial appeal for telecommunication service providers.

Access to network services is now projected to be 99 percent thanks to a similar project that was launched in Zanzibar in 2022.