The government of Tanzania has granted Viettel, a mobile network operator based in Vietnam, a licence that will see the telecom operator build a third-generation (3G) mobile phone network in the country.
Operations to build the national network will commence beginning of next month, with further plans by the mobile operator to launch its mobile services in July next year.
Tanzanian government, through the deputy minister for communication, science and technology January Makamba said Viettel would be rolling out broadband through fibre-optic cable to rural Tanzania, plans that are parallel to the government’s objective of digital inclusion.
Viettel has plans to focus on the country’s rural areas so as to achieve a network coverage of 4,000 villages where they are without a network.
“Viettel network will be 3G everywhere. We’ve also asked Viettel to deliver fibre to 150 district hospitals, 150 district government offices, 65 post offices and 500 secondary schools,” said Makamba.
The company aims to build 13,000 kilometres of fibre cable by 2016 to add to the existing 8,000 kilometres network.
The Vietnam-based telecom will be joining four other main operators in the country, including Vodacom Tanzania, Bharti Airtel, Tigo Tanzania, and Zantel, a unit of Etisalat as well as three other mobile operators run by the state.
With a population of 45 million, Tanzania has shown rapid growth on its mobile telecoms sector with 28.88 million mobile subscribers representing a mobile penetration of 64 per cent.
Viettel has operations in Asia, Latin America and Africa, with a presence in Mozambique through its subsidiary, Movitel, which has over five million users in the country.