Tanzania: TTCL Connects Dodoma City With Uninterrupted Services

TANZANIA Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL) has fully connected the new Dodoma city and official government capital with stronger and uninterrupted communication services which are necessary in building strong economic growth.

Dodoma gained a city status to become the country's sixth city following declaration by President John Magufuli at the climax of the 54th Union anniversary. Other cities are Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Tanga, Mbeya and Mwanza.

Dodoma has been for decades the official country's capital city after being announced by the founding President Julius Nyerere in 1973. But this dream has been realized by President Magufuli's decision to relocate to Dodoma.

To support the government move, the state-owned TTCL has already connected the public and private institutions settled in the new city with reliable and efficient communications services.

In February this year, the government launched officially the operations of the new TTCL, with a strong call for increasing efficiency as a propeller for economic growth.

This follows the endorsement by President John Magufuli, of the Tanzania Telecommunication Corporation Act, 2017, to replace the Tanzania Telecommunication Company Limited (TTCL).

Works, Communications and Transport Minister, Prof Makame Mbarawa, said the initiative will closely engage the entity in the development agenda to enable the underserved community to access and use communication services to improve their living standards.

"Communication services should be at the heart of the development agenda, particularly the industrialisation drive to bring about inclusive economic growth with huge multiplying effect," he said, adding that the initiative would make the new public institution increase its competitiveness in the market.

The entity is operating as fully-fledged communications corporation with the main objective of safeguarding national security, promoting socioeconomic development and managing strategic communications infrastructure.

Under the new law, the corporation is tasked to enhance safety, security, economic and commercial viability of national telecommunications services and telecommunications infrastructure promotion for effective management and operations of telecommunications services.

TTCL Corporation operates and manages the government's National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB) which is the largest fiber backbone infrastructure in Tanzania, the largest internet point of presence and largest Data Center.

NICTBB helps to fulfill the increasing demands of information services, strengthen competitive abilities of domestic data and voice operators as well as bridging the digital divide. It is necessary in developing high speed broadband and helps to efficiently exploit the benefits from undersea submarine cables landing in Dar es Salaam.

By providing high quality capacity fiber optic connectivity from Tanzania to within Africa and the rest of the world.

Also TTCL run the National Data Centre located in Kijitonyama, in Dar es Salaam's Kinondoni District that was built to Tier Three specifications in order to offer services to both public and commercial organisations.

To-date, about 28 institutions are using the National Data Centre which is speedy government facilities guaranteeing maximum security of data.

The TTCL Director General Mr Waziri Kindamba said public and private institutions in Dodoma are currently enjoying reliable and efficient communication services leading to smooth operations in an endeavour to serve people and contribute to building strong economic growth.

"Connecting Dodoma city will go as far as making it the country's telecommunication hub by connecting it with the rest of the country," he said. He added, "We will work on internet connectivity as well as improving the availability of the voice platform.

These works are being done in cooperation with our national and international stakeholders," TTCL has also embarked on a nationwide fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) rollout. The project will enable users to connect to high-speed fibre-optic broadband services delivered directly to their homes.

He said that a pilot project has already begun in Mikocheni, Mbezi Beach in Dar es Salaam and Medeli estate in the Dodoma Region. After 90 days of the pilot project that commenced in February this year, phase one will be implemented in all regional centres countrywide.

He said that customers using the FTTH network will be able to access broadband connection speeds of up to 50Mbps. With a 'fiber to the home', the project is connecting free of charge and customers are assured of getting unlimited internet services up to 50 megabits per second (mbps) that can cover an area of 200 meters on a building's compound.

TTCL is providing highquality and reliable networks offering comprehensive range of telecommunication services to businesses, consumers, operators and the government.

The telecom firm has been serving the government and large business customers for years and has developed customized data solution based on understanding their actual needs. Data solutions are delivered mainly on fiber optic access solution together with Satellite option.

As the largest data carrier, TTCL offers a range of data carrier solution to other telecoms operators, internet solutions providers, governments and broadcasters in the Eastern and Central African region. It serves regional and multinational operators with data transiting through Tanzania, IP transit, cross connections and other custom made data solutions.

TTCL has already deployed a new digital capability of 100 per cent national high-speed broadband network to expand its mobile phone services to remote areas of the country.

Having cheaper and affordable network connectivity is insufficient if the internet services are not of the global standards of high speed. Getting internet to remote areas is seen as a development tool to boost education and opportunities for the poorer population.

Through the NICTBB, TTCL Corporation is redefining everything known in e-government, e-learning, ehealth and e-commerce. "We're dedicated to making life better for our customers and their businesses. So whatever your sector, and whatever you require, we'll have the solution to help," he said.

He added, "Whereas our competitors just look on the profit side, we also have a social responsibility to make sure that rural Tanzania is also connected," It is from this backdrop that TTCL partnered with the Universal Communication Services Access Fund (UCSAF) to expand telecommunication services to marginalized rural areas.

"TTCL was mandated and has completed the connection of 130 wards (over 400 villages) in various regions to improve communication and speed up development in their respective areas," said Mr Nicodemus Mushi, TTCL Public Relation Manager.

The TTCL telecom infrastructure in these villages has helped in the transformation of farming practices and improved productivity through use of mobile phones.

The sectors that are benefitting from the partnership include education, health, agriculture, infrastructure and all the trade that takes place between rural Tanzania and the urban centers. For example, small scale farmers in three villages of Nsenda, Imalamakoye, Tebulanda and Uyumbu in Urambo District, Tabora Region can now access information on agricultural best practices and new developments.

Main crops cultivated are tobacco, maize, watermelons and cassava. With mobile phones, farmers make calls or receive SMS alert messages giving tips and advices on improving farming practices and productivity.

Last year, TTCL ventured into mobile money services, TTCL Pesa to benefit customers who save ten to 50 per cent and agents of mobile cash services earning up to 50 per cent of profit compared to existing players.

The TTCL Director General said the firm's mobile cash is available to subscribers by dialling *150*71# promising to work within three to four years to cope with other competitors who spend up to 15 years to be at their recent positions in the market.

TTCL Pesa will help Wananchi to send and receive money to and from other service providers at low cost. It will also simplify the payment system including tax, serving farmers and herders from robbers-because they need not walk with bulk cash and thereby fuel the country's economic growth, create job opportunities and tax revenues.

With this major transformation, TTCL will compete with the rest of other players in the mobile telecommunications industry. Major competitors in money transfer services include Vodacom (M-Pesa), Airtel (Airtel Money), Tigo (Tigo Pesa), Halotel (Halopesa) and Zantel (EzyPesa).

The introduction of new services by TTCL brings good news to rural dwellers who have limited access to conventional bank services and for years have been yearning for cheaper mobile communication services.

So far all mobile money operators mostly in the urban areas are offering similar services that enable users to easily deposit, withdraw, transfer money, settle bills and pay for goods through their phones. Experience shows that bill settlement has become easy, with users paying electricity bills, water bills, government taxes, road licenses, flight tickets and even satellite TV subscriptions through phones.

The TTCL Business Transformation is geared towards transformation of voice and data service delivery capability using enhanced and most popular technology in the current market.

Therefore, the strategic business plan will focus on deployment of 4G- LTE, Wi-Fi, FTTx, and GSM-2G, 3G for delivering of broadband and mobile services in high quality.

TTCL offers mobile broadband solution to lifestyle users using latest mobile broadband technology (4G LTE). With seamless 4G/3G coverage, high speed above market average is assured.

Currently, almost all regional centres are getting latest and high speed broadband technology of 4G LTE. With the 4G technology, it will be possible to roll out e-education which is important in promoting and providing quality education.

The technology will also lead to improved services in sectors like health, business, agriculture industries, marketing. For the first time in the telecom market, TTCL Corporation with opportunities of having readymade fixed line network infrastructures, the company planned to offer converged services through Fixed Mobile Convergence (FMC).

The major aim is to engage effectively in the mobility of data and our strategy in five years' time is have our network is fully converged in providing its services, namely fixed mobile convergence.

TTCL is very strong in fixed data and phones provided in almost all government institutions as well as other private entities, but now we want to penetrate in the area of mobility data where many operators have been concentrating in the mobile phones so that we may be the big differentiator.

The biggest differentiator that TTCL will bring is quality and reliable data irrespective whether in fixed or mobile networks. This is what our business transformation will address.

"Data is going to be everything in the next couple of years. Voice will be an added value or free like SMS messages," he said. Currently voice is king in the market and huge part revenues for most operators including TTCL is generated from this product. Provide competitive and affordable products for the up markets, the high ends including the government and others, middle segments and e-mass markets.

Fixed mobile convergence is the third big differentiator which is something that cannot easily be replicated by our competitors.

By having the converged network, will be able to unite our products in the mobile and fixed and serve customers with the bundled united products. "Customers need quality and affordable service irrespective of who provide them," he added.

And this will eventually stiffen competition in the telecom industry especially to other operators who are failing to replicate the fixed network.

With the LTE network, TTCL will be able to retain and grow her broadband subscriber base and generate revenues at sustainable cost levels. Also TTCL is supporting the government efforts to enhance transparency through use of Government e-Payment Gateway (GePG).

As the telecom company is expanding its services to reach all the regions, it will be possible to implement the GePG in enhancing revenue collections. In this financial year, the telecom company is expected to have its profit improved by 20 per cent to meet its target and for the first time in 15 years' time issue 1bn/- dividends to the government.

Currently, the firm generates 90 per cent of its revenues from data services due to lower cost and efficiency compared to other mobile operators in the country.

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