COSTS of making mobile phone calls have been reduced by 37 per cent in the past three years, after introduction of national fibre optic network through the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB).
Addressing the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM) 8th National Congress in Dodoma, the minister for communication, science and technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said currently the cost for talking for one minute is 59/-. He said that a minute in 2009 cost 147/-, while when people call a different mobile operator the cost for a minute is currently 137/-.
NICTBB is already connected to major submarine cables of SEACOM (July 2009) and EASSY (April 2010) extending the connectivity to neighbouring countries. The virtual landing stations of the submarine cables through the NICTBB have been established at the respective cross-border points of Rwanda (Rusumo station), Uganda (Mtukula station), Malawi (Kasumulo station), Zambia (Tunduma station) and Kenya (Namanga, Sirari and Horohoro stations).
Prof Mbarawa further said that the government has introduced universal communication fund to facilitate telecommunication to communities in areas with less business attractions and that all areas will be covered by 2014. "So far 3,000 villages do have access to cellular network services as most operators shun them (villages) because of less business attraction," he said.
He observed that the government will introduce the Telecommunications Monitoring System (TMS) which is aimed at tracking the amount of money generated by cellular network companies in December, this year. The system to be administered by Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) will facilitate the government's ability to monitor revenues earned by telecommunications' companies.
Prof Mbarawa also said the Mbeya Institute of Science and Technology (MIST) has been upgraded to a university status (Mbeya University of Science and Technology -MUST-) and that a total of 235 Tanzanian students are currently undertaking undergraduate and postgraduate courses at Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Arusha.