AT least 32 million Tanzanians had access to phone services, while the number of internet users reached 11 million at the end of last year, the industry regulator said in a recent report.
The Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said the figures reflected the tele-density of 67 per cent -- meaning that one in every two persons owns a phone -- a sharp rise from merely 10 per cent some ten years ago.
The telephone penetration has been attributed to a rapid growth and transformation of the country’s communications market in the last 10 years.
TCRA said in response to the global convergence of information communication technologies (ICTs), the country migrated into a converged licensing framework in 2005.
The regulator said the ICT market grew both in terms of subscribers of these services, variety of services and the expansion of the coverage area.
“The subscriptions for voice services rose by 91 per cent from 3.0 million in 2005 to 32 million in 2014. This resulted into a penetration of 67 per cent in December 2014 from 10 in 2005,” TCRA said.
Vodacom is leading the list of mobile telecom services providers comanding a third of the total market share, followed by Airtel with over 9.5 million subscribers, Tigo has over 7.6 million and Zantel 1.7 million.
TTCL has close to 300,000 subscribers, rising at 0.5 per cent per quarter while Benson has 528 customers and growing at negative 6 per cent a quarter.
However, fixed line subscribers decreased marginally to 151, 274 at the end of last year, from 154, 420 in 2005. TCRA report shows that internet service subscribers have increased to about 11 million by the end of last December from 3.5 million in 2008.
“At present, there is increased appetite for subscribers to use the internet, and this trend will continue, especially with the availability of broadband networks in Tanzania and proliferation of social media,” TCRA said. On the other hand, the usage of voice as measured by traffic minutes has increased parallel with the subscriptions.
The usage has risen from 506 million minutes in 2006 to 41 billion minutes in 2014. While the usage in terms of short messages (SMS) and data has also registered a tremendous growth, from about 5 million SMS in 2005 to 10 billion SMS in 2014.