Telecommunications in Tanzania

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Telecommunications in Tanzania include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, and the Internet available in mainland Tanzania and the semiautonomous Zanzibar archipelago.

Regulation and licensing[edit]

In 2005, mainland Tanzania, but not the semiautonomous Zanzibar archipelago, modified its licensing system for electronic communications, modelling it on the approach successfully pioneered in Malaysia in the late 1990s where traditional "vertical" licenses (the right to operate a telecom or a broadcasting network, and right to provide services on that network) are replaced by "horizontal" licenses (the right to operate telecom and broadcasting networks, with a separate license required to provide services on each network). Called the "Converged Licensing Framework (CLF)", this reform was the first of its kind put into practice on the African continent, and allows investors to concentrate on their area of expertise (i.e. network facility, network services, application services, and content services) across a larger number of previously separate sectors (i.e. telecommunications, broadcasting, Internet). This reform should, among other things, facilitate the arrival of telephone services over cable television networks, television services over telecommunications networks, and Internet services over all types of networks.[1]

Under the Converged Licensing Framework four categories of license are available:[1]

  • Network facility, the provision of any element or combination of physical infrastructure used principally for, or in connection with, the provision of Content services and other Application services, but not including customer premises equipment;
  • Network service, a service for carrying information in the form of speech or other sound, data, text or images, by means of guided or unguided electromagnetic energy, but not including services provided solely on the customer side of the network boundary;
  • Application service, the reselling of electronic communication services to end users; and
  • Content service, a service offered for sound, data, text or images whether still or moving except where transmitted on private communication.

At the end of 2013 there were:[2]

  • 21 network facility operators: 8 international and national, 11 national, and 2 regional;
  • 17 network service operators: 8 international and national, 6 national, and 3 regional;
  • 91 application service operators: 1 international, 15 international and national, 62 national, 11 regional, and 2 district;
  • 85 radio content service operators: 6 national + commercial, 10 regional + commercial, 7 regional + non-commercial, 30 district + commercial, and 29 district + non-commercial;
  • 30 television content service operators: 5 national + commercial, 4 regional + commercial, 1 regional + non-commercial, 6 district + commercial, and 17 district + non-commercial.

A complete list of licensed operators and contractors is available from the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) website.[2]

Radio and television[edit]

  • A state-owned national radio station and more than 40 privately owned radio stations are in operation (2007).[3]
  • A state-owned TV station and multiple privately owned TV stations are in operation (2007).[3]
  • The transmissions of several international broadcasters are available (2007).[3]

There are government restrictions on broadcasting in tribal languages.[4]

The semiautonomous Zanzibari government controls the content of all public and private radio and television broadcasts in its islands. Even in the case of state television broadcast from the mainland, there was a delay in the feed, allowing Zanzibari censors to intervene. However, Zanzibari radio stations operate relatively independently, often reading the content of national dailies, including articles critical of the Zanzibari government.[4]


Mobile phone companies

Some of the mobile phone companies operating in Tanzania are:[2]


SEACOM-Network Map. Click on map to enlarge.
  • Top-level domain: .tz[3]
  • Internet users: 7.2 million users; 13.1% of the population, 182nd in the world (2016);[7]
  • Fixed broadband: 3,753 subscriptions, 164th in the world; less than 0.05% of the population, 187th in the world (2012).[8][9]
  • Wireless broadband: 698,531 subscriptions, 81st in the world; 1.5% of the population, 130th in the world (2012).[10]
  • Internet hosts: 26,074 hosts, 110th in the world (2012).[3]
  • IPv4: 846,152 addresses allocated as of 27 November 2014, 0.02 percent of the world total, 17.9 addresses per 1,000 people (based on the 2014 population estimate of 47.4 million).[11][12]

Internet services have been available since 1995, but there was no international fiber connectivity available until 2009. Before then, connectivity to the rest of the world, including to neighboring countries, was obtained using satellite networks. The SEACOM and the Eastern Africa Submarine Cable System submarine fiber cable projects were implemented in July 2009 and July 2010, respectively, and brought higher speed Internet connectivity to Tanzania with lower latency and lower cost.[13][14] This resulted in more than an eight-fold improvement in download speeds from between 90 and 200 kbit/s in mid to late 2008 to between 1.5 and 1.8 Mbit/s in late 2009 with further improvements to between 3.6 and 4.2 Mbit/s in 2013.[15]

Internet service providers[edit]

Some of the Internet Service Providers operating in Tanzania are:[2]

Data operators[edit]

Some of the data operators in Tanzania are:[2]

  • Flashnet
  • Afsat Communications Tanzania Limited
  • SatCom Networks Africa Limited
  • SimbaNet
  • Startel Tanzania Limited, also known as raha
  • Tansat
  • Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL).

Censorship and surveillance[edit]

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet; however, the government monitors websites that criticize the government. Police also monitor the Internet to combat illegal activities.[4]

Freedom of speech[edit]

The constitution provides for freedom of speech, but does not explicitly provide for freedom of the press. A permit is required for reporting on police or prison activities, and journalists need special permission to attend meetings in the Zanzibar House of Representatives. Anyone publishing information accusing a Zanzibari representative of involvement in illegal activities is liable to a fine of not less than TSh 250,000/= (US$158), three years' imprisonment, or both. Nothing in the law specifies whether this penalty stands if the allegation is proven true. Media outlets often practice self-censorship to avoid conflict with the government.[4]

The law generally prohibits arbitrary interference with privacy, family, home, or correspondence without a search warrant, but the government does not consistently respect these prohibitions. It is widely believed that security forces monitor telephones and correspondence of some citizens and foreign residents. The actual nature and extent of this practice is unknown.[4]

Under the Electronic and Postal Communications (Online Content) Regulations 2018, blogs, online forums, and internet radio and television operations, must register with the government as an online content provider, and pay an annual fee. The fee is roughly equivalent to the annual income in Tanzania.[16] Online content providers may not post obscene or explicit content, hate speech, content that "causes annoyance", incites harm or crime, or threatens national security and public safety. Violators may be fined or have their licences revoked.[17][18]

See also[edit]


  • Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from World Factbook (2022 ed.). CIA. (Archived 2014 edition)
  • Public Domain This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Department of State.
  1. ^ a b "Licensing Information" Archived 2020-08-11 at the Wayback Machine, Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Licensed Operators and Contractors", Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "Communications: Tanzania", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 7 January 2014. Retrieved 22 January 2014.
  4. ^ a b c d e "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2017". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  5. ^ Dialing Procedures (International Prefix, National (Trunk) Prefix and National (Significant) Number) (in Accordance with ITY-T Recommendation E.164 (11/2010)), Annex to ITU Operational Bulletin No. 994-15.XII.2011, International Telecommunication Union (ITU, Geneva), 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  6. ^ "SEACOM Network" Archived 2016-11-21 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-07-21. Retrieved 2017-07-24.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ Calculated using penetration rate and population data from "Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2012" Archived 2017-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, Population data, International Programs, U.S. Census Bureau, retrieved 26 June 2013
  9. ^ "Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  10. ^ "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  11. ^ "CIPB - Allocation of IP addresses by Country". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  12. ^ "National Bureau of Statistics | Statistics for Development". Retrieved 2018-08-01.
  13. ^ SEACOM Knowledge Centre FAQ Archived 2011-04-23 at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ ""EASSy Enters Commercial Service", EASSy, 5 August 2010, accessed 28 November 2014". Archived from the original on 1 August 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2014.
  15. ^ "Download speed graph for Tanzania, September 2008 to present", Broadband Performance, Google Public Data Explorer. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
  16. ^ "Tanzania: Bloggers to be charged $900 (average annual income) per year for right to speak". Peril of Africa. 15 April 2018. Archived from the original on 11 September 2019. Retrieved 25 April 2018.
  17. ^ Dahir, Abdi Latif. "Tanzania social media and blogging regulations charge to operate online". Quartz. Retrieved 2018-04-25.
  18. ^ "THE ELECTRONIC AND POSTAL COMMUNICATIONS (ONLINE CONTENT) REGULATIONS, 2018" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on June 24, 2019. Retrieved April 24, 2018.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]