The GSMA has announced the launch of an infrastructure sharing initiative between Tanzanian mobile network operators (MNOs) Airtel, Millicom (Tigo) and Vodacom, in order to expand mobile broadband network coverage in the East African nation. The trio have committed to launch six 3G pilot sites across the country to test the sustainable provision of mobile broadband services to 13 million underserved people in rural areas. According to the GSMA, 69% of Tanzanians live in rural regions, and while operators have so far been able to deploy 2G networks to up to 85% of the population, only around 35% of are able to access 3G networks in the country.
‘This cooperation between the Tanzanian MNOs demonstrates that the industry is committed to connecting the unconnected – particularly the millions living in rural areas – and enabling them to gain access to essential internet services,’ commented Mats Granryd, the GSMA’s director general, adding: ‘Digital inclusion has become a strategic priority for operators and the government alike. Building on the 17 million citizens who currently access the internet, this initiative will focus on the remaining 13 million citizens in Tanzania yet to be connected to the internet.’ The agreement is a collaboration between the GSMA Connected Society programme, the three local operators and the government of Tanzania.