Tanzania Daily News reports that mobile operator Airtel Tanzania has launched its first communication services at Cheleweni in Lindi Region, as it looks to provide coverage to the country’s underserved rural population. Marking the launch, Lindi Regional Commissioner (RC) Shaibu Ndemanga said: ‘We are grateful to receive these communications services here in Cheleweni and its neighbouring villages … Now our people will have reliable access to all Airtel services including data services and Airtel Money which are key for mobile money transactions.’ According to Airtel, the newly launched cellsite will provide communication services to residents in Ng’apa, Cheleweni, Nchee, Nantumbya, Nanyurua and its surrounding villages.
In April 2015 Airtel was among four Tanzanian telcos to be approved for rural network expansion in 112 underserved districts. Along with Vodacom, Millicom Tanzania (Tigo) and Tanzania Telecommunication Company Ltd (TTCL), Airtel received subsidies totalling USD9.6 million from the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF), USD7.6 million of which was allocated for improving network access in 102 poorly-served districts spread across the country, while the remaining USD1.5 million was invested in upgrading/implementing telecommunications services in ten districts in border areas and special zones. Under the contract, Airtel was assigned eight wards to cover.