Monday, March 03, 2008

Tanzania - rural telephony

Tanzania: Vodacom, Nokia in Rural Areas Deal

Rural Tanzania will soon be connected to the outside world through the Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection.

Vodacom Tanzania has already entered into a trial agreement with Nokia Siemens Networks to provide consultant for the services.

The Village Connection was selected as the preferred service to connect remote areas due to its ability to deliver cost effective network capacity at a low operating cost.

Dietlof Mare, managing director of Vodacom Tanzania, told The EastAfrican that Nokia Siemens has been selected for its understanding of emerging markets.

Mr Mare said that the Village Connection trial is the first of its kind in Africa and will test voice and SMS services on live networks and in some cases will use satellite connectivity to act as backhaul.

The Vodacom initiative aims at connecting remote sites via satellite. The trial will also prepare Vodacom Tanzania to introduce new business models that allow it to reach remote and rural customers who are currently not connected to a mobile phone network.

Vodacom Tanzania, the third entrant into the lucrative mobile phone sector, has the largest customer base of four million subscribers and the only operator in the country with a commercial 3G network.

The Nokia Siemens Network has been a key supplier in core 3G radio and the deployment of the African continent's second 3G network.

In Tanzania, the mobile telecommunication industry's overall market penetration stands at 17 per cent, igniting competition among the industry players to capture the remaining share of the market

The village connection solution has already been tried and tested in India and recorded an impressive success considering the wider demographic and technological scope among the villagers.

Millions of villagers in the country will benefit from an agreement that was signed by the two mobile phone firms in November 2007 who only have up to five euros to spend on telecommunication services per household per month.

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