THE country’s telecom giant, the Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL), has awakened. And this time around it wants to concentrate on retail business apart from corporate customers.
To realise its dream, the stateowned firm has embarked on a project to build a sophisticated quality 4G (LTE) Long Term Evolution, 3G and 2G networks.
The project will equip TTCL with a state-of-the-art technology that will help to expand and provide mobile telephone services across the entire country at relatively affordable rates.
TTCL’s Chief of Sales and Marketing, Mr Peter Ngota, said by July the firm will start offering mobile phone services using 3G and 4G’s network.
“Previously we concentrated on corporate customers but come July we want to offer 100 per cent mobile services in the country,” Mr Ngota said.
The coming of TTCL, which backed its services using ICT fibre-optic cable network, will bring a new price impetus among tele-service providers as some of them are connected to the state owned network.
Mr Ngota said for many years TTCL concentrated on serving corporate clients, despite having a platform to also provide services to retail customers.
This is not the first time for TTCL to venture into mobile telephone business. In 2003 it awarded Huawei, a global vendor, a contract to supply CDMA2000 network covering the entire country.
The project commenced in 2006. Along with the contract Huawei delivered an Intelligent Network platform which enabled the company to introduce value added services such as prepaid services, a voice mail system, a short message service and billing system allowing postpaid services.
Last month again, TTCL signed a 182-million US dollars deal with China’s Huawei Technologies to upgrade and expand its fixed and wireless networks. TTCL will now become the only firm in the country to operate GSM and CDMA2000 technologies.
Others are operating GSM technology only. GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications), is a standard developed by the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) to describe protocols for second-generation (2G) digital cellular networks used by mobile phones.
CDMA 2000 (also known as C2K or IMT Multi-Carrier (IMTMC)) is a family of 3G mobile technology standards, which use CDMA channel access, to send voice, data, and signalling data between mobile phones and cell sites.
The name CDMA2000 actually denotes a family of standards that represent the successive, evolutionary stages of the underlying technology.
The TTCL Chief Executive Officer, Dr Kamugisha Kazaura, said the technologies would help the company offer higher quality data services at all fronts. This new agreement between Huawei and TTCL is part of the latter management efforts to improve services and expand them to more people across the country.
For instance, TTCL won a contract to take telecommunications services to over 65 wards that make up over 400 villages with over 500,000 people.
The 10-million-USdollars contract requires TTCL to take telecommunication services to rural areas under Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF).
UCSAF promotes the participation of the public and private sector in the provision of universal communication services to the rural and urban under served areas.
The Fund also want telecom firms to create a framework for an open and efficient access to and use of communication networks and service in production and availability of competitive market.
TTCL, which handles the national fibre-optic cable network also termed as the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB), said currently almost all Tanzania’s neighbours were at their subscription docket.
Those under TTCL dockets are Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia and Malawi through the fire-optic cable. Through the NICTBB, Tanzania has been connected with East Africa’s submarine cable networks including SEACOM, EASSY and SEAS.
The TTCL’s ambition to conquer mobile phone market is cemented after Bharti Airtel, which was holding 35 per cent stake surrendered it to the state-run firm.
This means that TTCL has now taken 100 per cent control of the firm starting last week. Now the government can inject more funds for the company’s development, thus making it effectively offer services to its customers.
Financially, the company is sound. In 2010 it generated about 80bn/- and in 2013, the company’s revenue increased to 93bn/-.
In this year, Dr Kazaura said, the firm’s businesses is expected to increase by 50 per cent. TTCL’s main business is networking firms via broadband, internet bandwidth and wholesale administration.
So far TTCL has signed projects worth 15bn/- this year. Last year it had projects worth 10bn/-.