Tanzania's number of internet users hits 5 million

Tanzania has about five million internet users, thanks to exponential growth of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) during the past few years.

Mobile phone penetration has reached 32 million subscribers from about five million in less than 10 years, according to the minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa.

He disclosed this in The Hague, last week when he presented the country’s statement to the Global Cyber Space Conference, 2015.

He said Tanzania had only several hundred thousand internet users less than a decade ago, adding that the country was among the few in Africa which registered fast growth in ICT development.

“This is very positive experience. Mobile phone penetration has rather brought new associated mobile services already accessible to many of our citizens”, he said.

The ICT revolution, specifically the mobile phone penetration, has boosted mobile banking services such as M-Pesa, Tigo-Pesa, Airtel Money and Z-Pesa.

The minister said the country has made significant progress in enabling more use of ICT through improving National Broadband connectivity, envisaging massive use of ICT services.

From 2009, the government decided to invest heavily in creating a broadband ready Tanzania with implementation of National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) in two phases.

The first phase commenced in February 2009 and was completed in June 2010 with 4,300 kilometres of fibre backbone operational.

The second phase became effective from August 1st, 2010 and to date the country’s fibre backbone has a total of 7,560km live backbone.

“The backbone is present at regional level and our government is continuing with its plans to create an abundant performance of Internet and data traffic, including establishment of huge data centres as Phase III of the NICTBB project”, he said.

The government is also currently working hand in hand with the private sector within the framework of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) arrangement to construct Metro fibre networks as Phase IV of the project.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Zephania Ubwani, from Arusha, Tanzania
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