Tanzania’s Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, Professor Peter Msolla, told parliament last Friday that the government intends to launch a new rural communications fund, designed to encourage telcos to invest in underserved rural areas. The local Daily News newspaper reports that Tanzania is keen to see the current expansion of telecoms services in urban areas extended to more remote parts of the country. The minister, who was presenting his budget estimates for 2008/09, noted that while the number of fixed lines and mobile connections was climbing fast, service providers were avoiding rural parts of the country for commercial reasons.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, at the end of 2007 Tanzania was home to 8.488 million voice telephony customers, broken down as 8.252 million mobile users and 236,493 fixed telephony subscribers. The mobile market was led by Vodacom with 3.870 million subscribers (a market share of 47.4%), followed by Celtel Tanzania (now Zain) with 2.505 million (30.1%), MIC Tanzania (Tigo) in third with 1.191 million users (14.3%) and fourth-placed Zantel with 684,214 (8.2%).