Tanzania opens doors for 5G investment

Saturday May 21 2022
5G pic

5G technology is already taking the world by storm bringing about huge disruptions across the sectors globally. PHOTO | FILE

By Alex Nelson Malanga

Dar es Salaam. The government is now ready to allow investment in the 5th generation (5G) network trials - the fastest ever – as efforts are gearing up to develop the digital economy.

The Minister for Information, Communications and Information Technology, Mr Nape Nnauye, who tabled his budget for the 2022/23 financial year, said the doors were now open for investors willing and able to invest in the 5G technology.

The move came as a sigh of relief for companies like Vodacom, which was quoted in 2020 as saying it targeted to invest in the 5G technology. It was just waiting for the regulatory approval, before it could start investing in 5G.

The government yesterday welcomed investors who wished to invest in 5G technology to submit their applications. On how to apply, the minister said the due procedures would be made public soon.

However, he said, the government through Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) was ready to offer spectrum for service providers who were ready for 5G trials.

“This (offering of spectrum) process will be transparent and competitive,” said Mr Nnauye in Dodoma.

Advertisement

“We invite those willing to invest in the 5G technology for trials.”

He stressed that the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and the emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, internet of things and block chain were important for building sustainable cities.

“All this requires strong infrastructure for speedy internet. The use of 5G will set a stage for the digital economy revolution,” he noted.

He said the government would keep the momentum going when it came to creating an enabling environment for investors to invest in the internet infrastructures with a view to widening the scope of coverage.

“This is important for the country to realise its target of covering 80 percent of Tanzanians with speedy internet come 2025,” said Mr Nnauye.

In another development, Parliamentary Committee on Infrastructure yesterday tasked the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) to meet with telcos to address complaints by citizens against telcos on issues related to bundles.

Of recent, telcos customers had raised concerns over changes in bundle charges, with others complaining that they were not informed of the new payments.

In the changes, it was reported that telecom companies had shaken-up bundle packages by either reducing bundle size for the same amount of money or increasing amount of money for the same quantity.

Various users took their anger to social media with some seeking a comment from the authority responsible.

“It is high time TCRA sat with telcom companies to address the question of bundle complaints,” reads part of the committee’s speech presented in Parliament yesterday.

Presenting the budget for his docket Minister Nnauye asked the House to endorse some Sh282.06 billion for his ministry, the amount slightly higher compared to the current financial year’s Sh246.38 billion which was approved for the then ICT ministry.

Sh255.77 billion would be for development expenditures, the remaining will be for recurrent expenditures.

Of the amount set aside for development, Sh215.8 billion will be sourced locally and the remaining Sh40 billion are from external sources.

The construction of the National Fibre Optic Cable network named as National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) is expected to take a lion’s share of the money set aside for development projects--Sh149.7 billion.