Vodacom Tanzania

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Vodacom Tanzania
Industry Communications Services
Founded 1999 ( Started commercial operations 15 August 2000)
Headquarters Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Products Wireless: 3G HSDPA Data Card, 3G HSDPA USB Modem, Booster Card, VodaFASTA, VodaChoice, VodaJAZA,Toll-free, Corporate Talk, People's phone, Vodago, Tsh Vouchers, Foreign Vouchers and Vodashops
Number of employees
438 (as at 31 March 2006.)[1]
Website vodacom.co.tz

Vodacom Tanzania Limited is Tanzania's leading cellular network company. As of 18 May 2010, Vodacom Tanzania had over eight million customers and became the largest wireless telecommunications network in Tanzania (based on total wireless customers). Vodacom Tanzania is the second telecom company in Africa, after Vodacom, to switch on its 3G High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) which was available only in Dar Es Salaam in early 2007.[2]

The company has been using some Swahili slang to coin and market its products such as VodaFasta, VodaFlava, Nipige Tafu, Habari Ndio Hio and Kama Kawa (Kama Kawaida)[citation needed]. Historically, they have also pioneered new features; they were the first and exclusive Tanzanian carrier to launch video call, video messaging and 3G HSDPA USB Modem. As of 11 January 2008, Vodacom Tanzania was again the first and exclusive company to provide a free E-mail ID via a phone number.[3]

The company was created in late 1999 as a subsidiary company of Vodacom based in South Africa. Vodacom Tanzania is a joint venture in which Vodacom Group owns a majority share portion of about 65%, the remaining portion is owned by Tanzanian shareholders that include Mirambo.[4] By August 2000, the company completed its GSM infrastructure and went live on 14 August 2000. Vodacom Tanzania announced officially its commercial operations on 15 August 2000. Vodacom Tanzania became the largest mobile operator in the country within one year of launching and remains the largest mobile communications network operator in Tanzania up to date.

Vodacom Tanzania has its executive headquarters on the 14th Floor of the PPF Towers on Garden Avenue / Ohio Street in Dar Es Salaam and maintains operational and engineering branches in all regions of Tanzania. The company has active roaming agreements with many network operators in the world that include T-Mobile USA, Inc in United States, vodafone Ltd in UK and BPL Cellular (now Vodafone) in Kerala, India.[5] The company distributes its products and services through a number of Super dealers and Vodashops. Vodacom is an acceptable short name for the company within the country.



Vodacom Group was licensed in December 1999 to operate a GSM cellular network in Tanzania and formed the subsidiary company Vodacom Tanzania Limited. The Group also has operations in Lesotho and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

When Vodacom entered in Tanzania there was one GSM 900 MHz cellular operator, Tritel, on the mainland of Tanzania with 15 to 20,000 active subscribers and another which was operating exclusively on the island of Zanzibar. There was also an analogue cellular network operator, MIC Tanzania Limited (tiGO), with active subscriber base of 40 to 50,000. tiGo was known as Mobitel when started its operation within the country in late 1993. There was also one government owned fixed-line telecommunications operator, Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited, TTCL. Vodacom Tanzania was the third licensed network operator in Tanzania and became the largest mobile communications network operator in the country within one year of launching.

Vodacom Tanzania Partnership[edit]

Vodacom Tanzania was licensed in Tanzania with its local partners Planetel Communications holding 36% and Caspian Construction holding 16%. Later Planetel decreased its stake to 16%, while Caspian’s increased to 19%.[6]

A representative of Caspian on the Vodacom Tanzania board is businessman Rostam Aziz, a close supporter of President Jakaya Kikwete. At the time Vodacom was licensed in Tanzania, neither man was quite as powerful as now.

Rostam Azizi is a Tanzanian national. In 1993 he was elected as a member of the Tanzanian parliament on behalf of the Igunga constituency. He went on to win two consecutive terms as MP. Until November 2007 he served as finance and economic secretary of the Tanzanian parliament. In 2010 he quit politics to focus and grow his family business. The Azizi’s are a fifth generation Tanzanian family of Middle East origin. The family migrated from south Iran. They settled in Tanganika after transiting in Zanzibar 150 years ago. The family began farming sisal, rice etc. Today the Aziz family is among the most prominent business families in East Africa. They are engaged in everything from telecom, ports, agriculture, media, and contract mining.

The family businesses are considered to be one of Tanzania’s largest conglomerates. Group holdings include:

Vodacom Tanzania Ltd (a subsidiary of Vodafone), the country’s leading cellular network. Caspian Ltd – The largest contract mining company in Tanzania contractor to DeBeers, Barrick among others. Dar Es Salaam Port – in partnership with Hutchison Wampoa Wembere Hunting Safaris Limited Africa Tanneries Limited Tanzania Leather Industries Ltd Various newspaper titles, radio and television stations

While spreading its political bets, the CCM's and the former Speaker of Parliament Pius Msekwa was granted Vodacom Tanzania’s non-executive chair between 2003 and 2005.


The native Vodacom Tanzania network operates on the dual band GSM 1800 MHz and 900 MHz. The network was fixed in 2000 by Siemens Telecommunications based in South Africa. It was claimed that the 900 and 1800 GSM network was extremely hi-tech for mobile telecommunications in Africa, with an IN platform as well as various management and maintenance platforms.[7] The network coverage extends throughout many regions in the country.

In late 2006 Vodacom Tanzania deployed The VectaStar wireless transmission equipment and the backhaul network was commercially operated in the same year. Operating in the licensed 10.5 GHz spectrum band, the network covers the areas of Dar Es Salaam, Arusha, Moshi and Mwanza. Vodacom Tanzania has highly improved customer service levels, which use IVR technology. As such, Vodacom customers are now served in two languages, Swahili and English.[8]


As for 28 September 2007 the extent to which Tanzania’s population is covered with telecommunication services remains unclear. This is due to the that fact 100% regional and district coverage in terms of Points of Presence for let's say Tanzania Telecommunication Limited, TTCL, does not indicate how deep it goes from there to different villages.[9]

Vodacom Tanzania mainly resides and operates in Tanzania mainland and the company acts as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) on the mainland for ZanTel. ZanTel has its own network in Zanzibar, and has made an agreement with Vodacom Tanzania to use the latter’s facilities on the mainland, and thus, essentially to provide national roaming.

In East Africa, Vodacom Tanzania has its footprints within Tanzania and it has roaming arrangements with a number of East African carriers, such as MTN Uganda and Safaricom Kenya. The free-roaming zone in East Africa, between Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda was formed on 2 February 2007. Similarly to "One Network", world's first borderless network across East Africa, launched by Celtel on 27 September 2006,[10] the free-roaming zone enables its subscribers to roam free between these countries, thereby scrapping roaming charges,[11] making calls and sending SMS at their home tariff and receiving incoming calls and SMS for free. It also enables them to recharge with their own vouchers when travelling outside of their home country.

As of 2008, Vodacom Tanzania prepaid customers have only restricted roaming privileges (except for Kenya and Uganda roaming). While international roaming is available to all post-paid customers, it must first be activated through customer service. Once provisioned, charges for calls and SMS made and received while on international roaming are then added to customer's monthly post-paid account back in Tanzania. The company has International Roaming through partnerships with 288 live networks across 140 countries and territories such as Kerala in India[12] via BPL Cellular. The newest roaming destinations include China and Germany. In Germany Vodacom prepaid customers are allowed to roam with Vodafone D2.

3G Upgrading[edit]

The 3G technology was part of a $126 million broadband technology roll-out and part of $1.3 million capital expenditure programme to extend the network of Vodacom in Tanzania as of December 2006. Again Siemens Communications based in South Africa was awarded a contract by Vodacom Tanzania to deliver and install the complete 3G network including HSDPA (High Speed Downlink Packet Access) technology.This is the second 3G network to be set up by Siemens in Southern Africa and it is claimed to be the first truly high-speed mobile broadband connectivity available in Tanzania. Siemens Communications was already responsible for building the 3G network for Vodacom in South Africa.

Although the 3G technology was officially used in early 2007, the technology and required frequency supporting 3G services was in operational since early December 2006 as a testing phase to optimize thenetwork.[13] The company planned to extend the 3G capabilities to other regions of Tanzania in the aftermath of successful assessment of the first 3G roll-out. Vodacom Tanzania is the first in East Africa with such technology and it is claimed that 3G HSDPA gives a major competitive advantage to customers.

Plans for WiMAX[edit]

Among other network operators in Tanzania, Vodacom Tanzania has a plan to deploy WiMAX technology. Others include TTCL, MIC Tanzania Limited (tiGO) and ZanTel. As for 28 September 2007, Celtel Tanzania could not indicate any plan for WiMAX roll-out.

Vodacom Tanzania's plans for WiMAX was followed by spectrum guaranteed by regulator for 3.5 GHz. The guaranteed spectrum will be used for targeting data transfer for corporate sector in major cities within the country.

Currently Vodacom Tanzania is using Cambridge Broadband’s VectaStar equipment. This equipment can be deployed to backhaul traffic from both, mobile and data networks, including GSM, 3G and WiMAX sites. Actually, the equipment was fixed by Cambridge Broadband Limited as per radio transmission equipment contract. Vodacom Tanzania awarded the major radio transmission equipment contract to Cambridge Broadband Limited on 5 September 2006.[14]

Other Telecom Companies In Tanzania[edit]

Network Operator Any Fixed line/Cable service? Technology Deployed Any Plan for Wimax? Company strategies
TTCL Yes - copper Cables; leased lines; basic POTS; ADSL; SDSL. Mobile & Fixed Wireless: CDMA (3G) Coverage area: At first major cities, later to cover the whole country Yes Major strategy: voice access and backbone provision. National and international calling; Internet access, International gateway license; video on demand in the future?
Airtel Tanzania No GSM 900/1800/400; GPRS, EDGE, 3G Not indicated Mainly voice; carrier of carriers
MIC Tanzania Limited (tiGO) No GSM 900/1800,3G, 4G/LTE Yes, currently doing initial steps – no frequency application yet Mainly voice
Vodacom Tanzania No GSM 900/1800, plans for 3G rollout by 2007 (frequency allocated) Yes – spectrum guaranteed by regulator for 3.5 GHz. Targeting data transfer for corporate sector - major cites Basic voice services; data transfer
ZanTel Tz Yes GSM 900/1800 – planning for 3G CDMA – Dar Es Salaam, Zanzibar, Pemba National roaming agreement with Vodacom on the mainland Yes Voice; access to the international gateway
Viettel Tanzania Limited traded as Halotel Tanzania Yes GSM 900/1800, 3G (HSPA+) in most areas of the country with national roaming agreement with existing Telecom operators. Yes Voice; access to the international gateway

Plans for LTE[edit]

On 1 February 2013, Vodacom announced conducting trials in Tanzania to support LTE capabilities.[15]

In June 2016 Vodacom Tanzania Launches 4G LTE Service in Dar es Salaam in Partnership with Nokia in its 4G LTE deployment.[16]

See also[edit]

  1. Celtel Tanzania
  2. MIC Tanzania Limited (tiGO)
  3. Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited
  4. Vodacom
  5. Celtel International
  6. Celtel Africa Challenge
  7. 3G Technology


  1. ^ [1] Review of operations – Vodacom Tanzania
  2. ^ 3G3G, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  3. ^ [2] free E-mail from Vodacom
  4. ^ [3] Company Profile
  5. ^ . [4] Vodacom Tanzania Limited - Roaming Partners
  6. ^ [5] Vodacom's elite network
  9. ^ [8] Paper submitted for the 35th Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy (TPRC) in Arlington, Virginia, 28–30 September 2007
  10. ^ [9] Celtel launches One Network: The world’s first borderless mobile phone network
  11. ^ [10] Vodacom Tanzania forms free roaming zone with MTN Uganda and Safaricom Kenya
  12. ^ [11] Vodacom Tanzania International Roaming
  13. ^ [12] Vodacom 3G hits Tanzania
  15. ^ Template:Daily news
  16. ^ Template:All Africa

External links[edit]