Tanzania to restructure TTCL, supply bandwidth to 9 countries

The State-owned Tanzania Telecommunication Company Ltd (TTCL) has signed contracts to offer communications services to companies in nine African countries.

Makame Mbarawa, Minister for Communication, Science and Technology, said TTCL — which hosts the National Information Communications Technology Broadband Backbone infrastructure covering 99 per cent of the country — had signed contracts with mobile telecommunication firms in Mozambique, Burundi, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda and Zambia to supply Internet bandwidth.

January Makamba, the Deputy Minister for Communications, Science and Technology said the government was planning to purchase the 35 per cent stake currently held by Airtel Tanzania as part of a turnaround process. The government currently owns 65 per cent of TTCL.

Government officials said that the planned restructuring of ownership at TTCL was meant to give the parastatal the much needed financial and management muscle to meet the demands in the sector.

“The firm was facing challenges such as lack of capacity to embrace modern technology,” said Mr Makamba. “TTCL has a wide network in the country and should have been among the best in the country…but this is not what is happening,” he added.

Prof Mbarawa said the private South African Company MTN and the Zambia Electricity Supply Corporation Ltd, are among the firms seeking connections. “TTCL will also connect the state-owned Malawi Telecommunication Ltd and Airtel Malawi,” he said.

In Burundi, the connection will be done via the Kabanga border. The largest mobile phone operators UCOM and Econet Burundi, part of Econet Wireless Group which provides service in Burundi, has also applied. Rwanda will be connected through the Rusumo border.

Talks with Uganda, Kenya and Mozambique are ongoing.

With 7,400 kilometres of fibre optic cable already laid, the national backbone has been extended to eight border points of Sirari, Namanga and Horohoro on the border with Kenya; Mutukula on the border with Uganda and Rusumo on the border with Rwanda.

The other points are at Kabanga and Manyovu at the border with Burundi; Kasumulu in Malawi and Tunduma in Zambia, with a view to connecting the landlocked countries to the international submarine cables Seacom and Eassy landing in Dar es Salaam.
Source: The EastAfrican,http://www.theeastafrican.co.ke, reported by Dorithy Ndeketela in Dar es Salaam

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