Tanzania warns telecom companies over disclosure of customer information

Tuesday June 08 2021
Tele pic

Communication minister Faustine Ndugulile (left) confers with his deputy, Mr Kundo Mathew, during a meeting with telecommunication companies in Dodoma yesterday. PHOTO | JONATHAN MUSA

By Jonathan Musa

Dodoma. The government said yesterday that it would take tough action against telecommunication companies found disclosing their customers’ information to third parties.

Speaking during a meeting with executives of telecommunications companies, the Minister for Communication and Information Technology (ICT), Dr Faustine Ndugulile, urged the companies to review their administrative guidelines with a view to identifying the culprits of such malpractices.

He said the government had gathered information that some employees of telecommunication firms were collaborating with some unscrupulous individuals to disclose their customers’ secrets without official approval.

“By so doing, they endanger the safety of the perpetrators. The acts are also illegal,” he said.

The meeting in Dodoma sought to discuss key issues towards the sixth phase of the border and regional telecommunications project.

He said in order to expand the telecommunications scope in the country, the government had built 7,610 kilometres of the national ICT broadband backbone.


Construction of another 409 kilometres of the backbone was underway.

The government expects to build another 1,880 kilometres of the national ICT backbone during the next few months.

“I believe that this will be your main platform upon which you get the communication across,” said Dr Ndugulile.

He said the government had expanded and successfully connected East and Southern Africa to Tanzania.

So far, he said, it was only Mozambique that had not been connected to Tanzania, noting however that with the ongoing 409-kilometre project, the southern African nation will also get connected to the country (Tanzania).

Experts were currently conducting feasibility studies to see the possibility of connecting the country to the DRC.

He said the aim was to ensure that Tanzania becomes a communications hub for the East and Southern African region.

He also reminded the telecommunication firms’ senior executives that the government was closely monitoring the issue of Subscriber Identification Module (Sim) cards that had not been biometrically registered, saying they will be disconnected soon.

At the same time, Dr Ndugulile said the ministry was announcing a sixth phase tender that focused on cross-border communication. This had been a great tragedy and so the government decided to respond.

Vodacom Tanzania technical director Andrew Lupembe said the company was ready to work with the government to ensure that the telecommunications service achieved its goals.

“Communication services are everyone’s right; so, we are with the government in achieving this,” he said.

The representative of Airtel Tanzania, Dr Prosper Mafole, said they were ready to work with the government in improving telecommunication services in the country.