Tanzania launches first 5G technology

Vodacom Tanzania Acting Managing Director Hilda Bujiku speaks during the launch of Vodacom 5G technology in Dar es Salaam on September 1. PHOTO | COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • 5G technology is a notch higher than its predecessor 4G technology.

Dar es Salaam. Telecom company Vodacom Tanzania Plc has launched the country’s first 5G technology in what promises to be a transformational development in the country's digital journey.

Launched in Dar es Salaam on September 1 by the company's Acting Managing Director Hilda Bujiku in the presence of Minister of Information, Communications and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye, the new technology is a notch higher than its predecessor 4G technology.

"Our promise is to continue using technology to improve the lives of Tanzanians and lead the digital transformation. As we launch 5G we plan to reach 90 percent of Tanzanians with 3G and 45 by 2024," said Vodacom's Bujiku.

In terms of speed, 5G offers 40 times more speed and efficiency reaching up to 500mbps with enough spectrum. When tested on a mobile device at the launch, the 5G network reached 287mbps within less than 4 seconds.

Addressing the audience, Vodacom Tanzania Director of Network, Mr Andrew Lupembe provided context on why 5G instead of enhancing 4G in the country, he said; "4G is good, but due to community demands, there was a need for higher technology with low lateceny, hence 5G. It will address a lot of challenges in Tanzania," he explained.

Roll out of 5G will start with establishment of over 200 5G sites in Tanzania's regions such as Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Dodoma, Mwanza, Iringa, Kagera, Njombe, and also Zanzibar, among other areas by November 2022.

Minister of Information, Communications and Information Technology, Nape Nnauye speaks during the launch of Vodacom 5G technology in Dar es Salaam on September 1. PHOTO | COURTESY

It will be available to fixed customers on small and medium enterprises.

With 5G, businesses should look forward to great transformation such as internet of things, artificial intelligence, remote access of Healthcare, among other great rewards in sectors such as education, transportation, tourism.

"Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) set up a technology neutral spectrum that enabled us to invest and launch 5G," Mr Lupembe said.

On the role of the government in enabling a conducive environment for technology and digital transformation, Mr Nape said this latest development is a welcome milestone and a step towards Tanzania achieving its digital economy journey and fourth industrial revolution.

"We are joining an elite league of countries in Africa and the world who've launched 5G technology. The future is innovation and this is a good step. Through TCRA Tanzania is embarking on great digital development projects such as constructing the National Fibre Optic Cable network named as National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) with a view to achieve greater connectivity across the country and beyond," said Nape.

The minister added that technology and human spirit can create a better future for Tanzania. "This is going to be a game changer for our country. Botswana, Egypt, Gabon, Lesotho, South Africa, Uganda, Zimbabwe, Madagascar, Kenya and Nigeria all launched 5G before us, but now we are also on the platform, and it is a big step forward.

Such a milestone manifests the benefits of our IT policies. We want to turn Tanzania into a digital economy and change lives through technology.
Today the world is led by innovation through AI, internet of things, robotics, and I want Tanzania to play a part in these advancements," said Nape.

On May 20 when tabling his ministry's budget Nape said Tanzania will launch 5G this financial year, "I thank Vodacom Tanzania for making this a reality," he said.

Another highlight of the game changing development included Mr Nape interacting with the host and audience at the launch venue virtually through 3D hologram - the first in Tanzania, and  first two-way hologram worldwide.