It's a high speed race as telcos show interest in deploying 5G

What you need to know:

  • Tanzania's telecommunication industry has six players, namely, Vodacom Tanzania, Tigo Tanzania, Airtel Tanzania, Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL), Halotel and Smile

Dar es Salaam. Battle over the high-band spectrum is around the corner as almost all telecom companies have shown interest in deploying the 5G technology-the fastest ever, The Citizen has learnt.

Tanzania's telecommunication industry has six players, namely, Vodacom Tanzania, Tigo Tanzania, Airtel Tanzania, Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL), Halotel and Smile.

As they compete to increase their footprint, in early October, operators are expected to spend big at the auction for the spectrum, which is considered to be a hot commodity for telcos, according to the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA).

Gaining spectrum and using it efficiently is necessary for telcos to deliver reliable connectivity and support the huge demand for data and the growing number of devices across their networks.

“Almost all telcos have shown interest in deploying the 5G technology. However, showing interest is one thing, and taking part in the auction is another thing,” the regulator told The Citizen on Thursday.

However, TCRA said there was only a limited amount of spectrum available and that is why the regulator had to go for the auction, which will also involve the offering of 4G, so that the highest bidders would win.

Going by an advert posted on its website, TCRA has assigned only four available spectrum blocks allocated for the International Mobile Telecommunication (IMT) services through an auction, subject to a reserve price.

They include 700 MHz band: One block of 2 x 10 MHz, 2300 MHz band: Two blocks of 1 x 35 MHz, 2600 MHz band: Three blocks of 2 x 15 MHz and one block of 1 x 20 MHz as well as 3500 MHz band: Four blocks of 1 x 40 MHz.

Prior to the formal commencement of the assignment process, TCRA will be conducting consultation exercises to which all stakeholders will be invited to participate.

“The consultation document (Draft Information Memorandum) will be published in Mid-August. This will detail how to participate in the auction,” reads a part of the advert signed by the TCRA director general, Dr Jabiri Bakari.

Adding: “It is in this memorandum where reserve/starting price for spectrum and spectrum cap/limit for a single telco, will be announced.”

End of August this year will be the deadline for the submission of stakeholders’ comments on Draft Information Memorandum, to pave a way for the publication of Information Memorandum early September.

“Actual spectrum auction, payment deadline and grant of licenses and/assignment of spectrum will be early October, mid-October and end of October respectively,” reads a part of the advert.

In furtherance to the National ICT Policy, it is the intention of TCRA that the planned spectrum auction of the IMT bands will bring a number of benefits.

They include, according to the regulator, lowering mobile communications costs due to cost savings as a result deploying fewer base stations for wider coverage and therefore potential lower consumer prices.

Other benefits include enhancing quality of services and quality of experience through coverage and capacity improvement and promotion, enhancement and facilitation of innovation for new ICT services and technologies to be deployed in the band.

The list of benefits also include advancement of the country’s mobile and fixed broadband infrastructure and capability which will serve as a catalyst for the nation’s economic development.