AfricaPress-Tanzania: AUTHORITIES in Tanzania have tasked telecom operators to start phasing out 2G- mobile technology to make room for new, powerful, reliable and sustainable technologies.

Minister for Communication and Information Technology Dr Faustine Ndugulile issued the call here, recently shortly before gracing the fifth phase agreement signing between the Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF) and three telecom service providers; Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel to take communication to the rural areas.

The Minister said the ruling party-CCM manifesto targets to increase internet connection from 43 to 80 per cent by 2025 in the country.

“This means we must start switching off the 2G technology and allow mobile technologies, which accommodate 3G and above,” he said.

Dr Ndungulile was quick also to warn telecom operators, which are leaking public private information, saying the ministry will enact stern regulations to protect mobile users’ privacy.

“There has been a growing number of some dishonest employees in the telecom companies and this must end,” he said.

There are about 50 million registered sim cards according to official government records with 29 million of them involved in mobile money services and 24 million surfing the Internet using their phones.

In a related development, the Minister directed UCSAF to improve communication services in border areas. In response, Vodacom Tanzania Director of Technical Services, Andrew Lupembe on behalf of other mobile operators said currently, majority of their customers use 2G mobile technology.

He said with technological advancements, the minister’s idea should be supported so that Tanzania keeps pace with industrial development and 5G technologies now rolling out.

“There are more efficient systems and it’s good the government has recognized this to switch to 4G and 5G,” he said, while calling upon the government to set strategies that will help the availability of 4G and 5G supported handsets countrywide.

On her part, UCSAF Chief Executive Officer Justina Mashimba said the agreements signed will improve communication network in 173 villages across 61 wards in the country. She said the contracts are for nine months and with completion, over 700,000 residents will benefit.

Ms Mashimba said the agreement’s work valued at 6bn/- is part of the fund’s strategy to improve communication service in the country.

Explaining, she hinted that the fund has marked some areas in the border posts to boost communication transformation.

“This year’s initiative will ensure a total of 12 million residents have access to quality communication in 3,025 villages or 1,055 Wards,” she added.


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