Tanzania government signed an agreement with successful bidders to provide telecom services to 112 Wards which were underserved through the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF). Vodacom, Airtel and Tigo and TTCL will provide telecommunications services to 102 wards that are un-served or under-served for a total subsidy of $7.6 million and another 10 wards located in border areas and special zones for $1.5 million.
The subsidies have been provided to attract the operators to move to the areas which currently do not attract private investment in telecommunication service. Representatives of the telecom companies signed the agreement with Eng. Peter Ulanga the Chief Executive Officer of the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) in Dar es Salaam.
Expansion of telecommunication services will demand the installation of new cables and towers. Fiber optic cables are used for backbone networks that link the towers. Optical fiber cables carry high bandwidth services for long distance. The agreement signed last week followed a similar one sealed in 2014 where the mobile telephone companies won tenders to provide telecommunication services to 86 wards and another one in 2013 where 52 wards were involved.
Already 25 government schools have been connected in the initial phase, which will be continued to another 250 schools. Plans were underway to ensure that the health sector also benefited from the ICT project, as look forward to connecting all district hospitals in the country with the advent of telemedicine, this will revolutionize the sector. The communication operators had been invited to bid for tenders to provide communication services to 158 wards in a project involving 14.21 million. A total of 158 wards were floated in a set of currently un-served or under-served wards within the country and 102 lots were bid successfully.
Tigo will cover 42 wards where it will receive $1.7 million as subsidies to move to the areas whereas Vodacom will go to 36 wards and will receive $ 3.4 million as subsidies. The Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) won 19 Wards and will receive $2.2 million as subsidies while Airtel Tanzania has been approved to cover five wards and will get $ 306,000 as subsidies.
The mobile operators also will provide telecommunication services to 10 wards in border and special zone areas where Vodacom has two wards and will be entitled to $ 435,000 as subsidies. Tigo will go to 5 wards and will receive $ 532,861 as subsidies and Airtel will provide telecommunication service to three wards and will get $ 512,922 as subsidies.
Apart from creating an opportunity for fiber optic business, the network expansion initiative has also created direct employment to over 200,000 people as employees of the firms whereas a total of 1.5 million have been indirectly employed by the communications firms. The telecoms companies which signed the contract include Vodacom, Tigo, Tanzania Telecommunication Limited (TTCL) and Airtel.