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BasicsEdit

Currently, 5 networks (plus further 3 on LTE) are operating in Tanzania:

  • Vodacom
  • Airtel
  • Tigo
  • Zantel (mainly in Zansibar)
  • Halotel (by Viettel)

In summer 2015 Zantel was aquired from Etisalat by the parent company of Tigo. So it can be expected that their networks may be merged. A 5th license was given out to Vietnam-backed Viettel which started in October 2015 under the brand name of Halotel.

Coverage is less than in neighbouring Kenya or Uganda. 2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz and 3G in some larger villages and towns on 2100 MHz on all providers plus 900 MHz on Airtel. While operators have so far been able to deploy mobile networks to up to 95% of the population, only around 1/3 of them of are able to access 3G networks in the country, so that only 5% are using 3G/4G connections in 2016.

4G/LTE has been started so far only with Tigo in Dar es Salaam on 800 MHz, with Vodacom on 1800 MHz and Zantel in Zanzibar (only Stone town) on 1800 MHz.

From 2012 three new operators have started to roll out 4G/LTE only:

  • Smile
  • TTCL
  • Smart

These operators are of little value for travellers as they mostly center on the capital only and don't have any 2G or 3G coverage. That's why they are shortly mentioned at the end of this article.

SIM cards can be purchased pretty much everywhere. Like in most of Eastern Africa, the mobile phone networks doubles as a payment system. So you find a lot of places to top-up your SIM card for other purposes as well. Be aware that your SIM card needs to be registered on your name by law.

Registration and "fake phones" Edit

The local regulator TCRA is fighting against unregistered SIM cards as well as "fake phones", both obviously without relevant success in spite of frequent awareness campaings. Up to now it's still easy to buy mobile lines for as little as TSH 500 (US$ 0.20) and without any form of registration even this is mandatory by law since 2010. Providers are now instructed to stop using unauthorised mobile line distributors. Authorised distributors, will have to register their permanent residence and taxpayer identification number (TIN). In 2016 the TCRA has fined the six leading mobile phone operators TSH 552 million (US$ 258,000) for laxity in SIM card registration.

TCRA is also committed to removing "fake phones" that have been flooding the market which are supposed to cause security, economic, and health risks. Smartphones are mainly the target in the fake deals. They prohibited importation of all kinds of fake mobile handsets. The ban takes effect on June 17, 2016.

A Central Equipment Identification Register (CEIR) is established for International Mobile Equipment Identity numbers (IMEIs) with numbers of all blacklisted mobile handsets in the country. Whenever a cellphone is reported as fake or stolen, the phone's IMEI number will go into the CEIR, supposedly making the device unusable in any network worldwide. Many handsets are deemed fake if their IMEI number is also not recognised by an international database.

TCRA switched off 1.8 million invalid IMEIs in 2016. Any user caught duplicating IMEIs risks a fine of TSH 10 mio. (US$ 13,362), 30 years in jail, or both, in accordance with the new Electronic and Postal Communications Act.

VodacomEdit

Vodacom

Vodacom, jointly owned by Vodafone and South African Telekom, is the market leader in Tanzania with a 38% share. It has the widest coverage in the country (coverage map) for the highest rates. In 2016 4G/LTE was started in Dar es Salaam on 1800 MHz or Band 3 (4G map).

Availability Edit

Their prepaid SIM card is available at many places like their stores (locator) for TSH 500-1000. To use 4G/LTE you need a new 4G-enabled SIM card.

Data feature packages Edit

Default rate outside of packages is TSH 282.7 per MB. These bundles called Cheka Internet are offered and are valid on 2G, 3G and 4G:

Time Volume Price
1 day 70 MB TSH 500
200 MB TSH 1000
1 GB TSH 2000
2 nights

(11pm-5am)

4 GB TSH 1500
7 days 500 MB TSH 3000
1 GB TSH 5000
2 GB TSH 8000
10 GB TSH 15,000
30 days 500 MB TSH 5000
2 GB TSH 15,000
10 GB TSH 35,000
20 GB TSH 50,000
50 GB TSH 95,000

To purchase a bundle, type *149*01#. Customers will not be able to purchase multiple bundles. Customers will be allowed to purchase a second bundle after volume allocated in the first bundle has been consumed. Once customer consumes volume within bundle, he will be billed at out-of-volume tariff till bundle validity end-date.

To check your internet balance for FREE at any time, prepaid customers may text the word 'BALANCEDATA' or 'SALIODATA' to 15300.

More info Edit

airtelEdit

Airtel

Airtel by Indian Bharti Airtel is the 2nd provider in the country. It has a market share of 33% and a bit lower coverage than Vodacom, at slightly lower rates (coverage list). If you are going to the game parks in Northern Tanzania, particularly Ngorongoro and Serengeti, as of 2015 Airtel's coverage is superior to that of the other carriers.

Availability Edit

SIM card is available for TSH 1000-2000. Buy it under an umbrella on the street or in their stores (list).

Data feature packsEdit

Default rate for data outside bundles is 125 TSH per MB. For data, you need to add packages called Yatosha Internet:

Time Volume Price Extras
24 hours 80 MB TSH 500 100 MB YouTube

and 50 MB

Facebook free

150 MB TSH 1000
1.3 GB TSH 2000
7 days 500 MB TSH 3000 300 MB YouTube

and 50 MB/day

Facebook free

1 GB TSH 5000
2.5 GB TSH 10000
30 days 450 MB TSH 3000 600 MB YouTube

and 50MB/day

Facebook free

3 GB TSH 15000
6 GB TSH 25000
12 GB TSH 35000
25 GB TSH 60000
50 GB TSH 100000
90 days 100 GB TSH 200000
200 GB TSH 350000

Activation is by *149*99#.

For night use, you can add a bundle at TSH 1500 with 10 GB data to be used midnight to 6am by *149*99# > Special Offer > Amsha Popo (option 3).

More infoEdit

TigoEdit

Tigo

Tigo is the 3rd provider in Tanzania. It's run by the Millcom Group that acquired the 4th provider Zantel (see below) in 2015. So it's expected that both networks may be merged or combined by roaming. Tigo has a market share of 23%.

It was the first to start 4G/LTE on 800 MHz in Dar es Salaam and is available for prepaid (coverage map) in Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Dodoma, Tanga, Arusha with plans to extend connectivity to Mwanza, Zanzibar (Stone Town) and Kilimanjaro (Moshi). By 2017 it has been spread to 23 towns so far.

Availability Edit

Their 3G SIM cards are available for around TSH 1000 on the streets or in their customer care centres (list) and their 4G LTE SIM cards are available for TSH 5000 in their customer care centres. You can top up at a lot of places.

Data feature packsEdit

Internet outside of packages is TSH 40 per MB. These bundles called Internet Packages are offered for 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE:

Time Volume Price
24 hours 70 MB TSH 500
200 MB TSH 1000
1 GB TSH 2000
7 days 400 MB TSH 3000
800 MB TSH 5000
2 GB TSH 8000
30 days 500 MB TSH 5000
2.5 GB TSH 15000
5 GB TSH 25000
10 GB TSH 35000
30 GB TSH 95000

To purchase type *148*00# and choose Internet Packs.

More infoEdit

ZantelEdit

Zantel

Zantel used to be the local provider on the island of Zanzibar. That's why it has a good coverage there, but had almost no coverage on the mainland. It used to belong mostly to UAE-owned Etisalad, but was sold in 2015 to Millicom who runs Tigo.

In 2016 it underwent a massive network overhaul. All clients can now roam on the Tigo network for free giving it a good coverage on the mainland (coverage map). 4G/LTE started in Zanzibar on 1800 MHz and roaming on Tigo on the continent.

Availability Edit

Their SIM card is available at the Zanzibar airport and many outlets (list) on the island and in the capital for TSH 1000 including TSH 500 credit.

Data feature packages Edit

They offer these packages for data on 3G (and 4G in Dar-es-Salaam and on Zanzibar):

Time Volume Price
24 hours 75 MB TSH 300
250 MB TSH 500
600 MB TSH 1000
1.5 GB TSH 2000
7 days 700 MB TSH 3000
1.2 GB TSH 5000
3 GB TSH 8000
12 GB TSH 12000
30 days 1.5 GB TSH 10000
3 GB TSH 15000
7 GB TSH 25000
14 GB TSH 35000
Night pack 8 GB TSH 1500

To purchase type *149*15# or go online at Ezynet Selfcare

More info Edit

Halotel Edit

Halotel

In 2015 Halotel started backed by Vietnamese Viettel. It's their 4th venture in Africa after Mozambique, Cameroon and Burundi under different brand names. In Tanzania its brand is called Halotel and covers already more than 95% of the population in 26 provinces by 2500 antenna towers on 2G or 3G in 2017.

Availability Edit

The SIM card called HALO SIM is sold at their stores and sales outlets (list ) for TSH 1000. Recharges are sold all over. Enter *104*<voucher code>#. Check balance by *102*

University SIM cards are also sold at various locations for around TSH 5000. The University SIM offers better data bundles at lower costs than the standard HALO SIM, but you are supposed to be a student which is not always enforced.

Halotel has better 3G coverage on Zanzibar than Zantel, which works only in Stone Town.

Data feature packages Edit

Data by default is a low TSH 30.72 per MB. They offer a huge variety of packages:

Time Volume on-net Calls Price
24 hours 70 MB TSH 399
120 MB TSH 499
250 MB (*) TSH 999
600 MB TSH 1500
1.5 GB TSH 2000
7 days 200 MB 10 mins TSH 1000
525 MB 20 mins TSH 1999
800 MB 30 mins TSH 2999
1 GB (*) TSH 4999
1.3 GB 40 mins TSH 5000
3.7 GB 50 mins TSH 8000
12 GB 100 mins TSH 12000
30 days 520 MB 15 mins TSH 2999
850 MB 20 mins TSH 4999
1.8 GB 50 mins TSH 9999
2 GB (*) TSH 14999
3.6 GB 150 mins TSH 15000
6 GB (*) TSH 24999
8 GB 200 mins TSH 25000
16 GB 300 mins TSH 35000
26.6 GB 320 mins TSH 40000
60 GB 400 mins TSH 95000

To activate a package for a HALO SIM, enter *148*66# and choose the package. Bundles marked (*) are called unlimited and will be throttled only when used up and not cut off.

For night users they offer two nighttime packages (valid midnight - 6am) in one night:

  • 1 GB: 500 TSH
  • 10 GB: 1500 TSH

On Saturdays and Sundays their weekend packs are valid:

  • 275 MB: 700 TSH
  • 3.686 GB: 3000 TSH

For mormings (5am-9am) these packs are offered:

  • 500 MB: 500 TSH
  • 1.3 GB: 1000 TSH

Furthermore they offer combo packages with on-network and off-network voice allowances, SMS and a data pack as well as student packages with discounted rates for students.

  • APN: internet

Smile (4G/LTE only) Edit

Smile

Smile by Smile Communication Tanzania Ltd (Smile TZ) began commercial operations in 2013. The company is a subsidiary a South African telecommunications conglomerate, who has networks in Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda too. Smile Tanzania was the first operator to launch commercial 4G/ LTE services in Tanzania using the 800 MHz frequency (band 20).

They initially covered the capital only, but have expanded now to Morogoro, Arusha & Moshi, Dodoma, Mbeya and Mwaza (coverage map). No roaming on 2G or 3G is offered and Smile is not recommeded for travelling. Their usage is more stationary in lack of ADSL landlines.

Their SIM card is sold in their shops (list). As 800 MHz devices are unusual for Africa, they sell portalble WiFi hotspots (Mifis) at TSH 149,000 or routers at TSH 320,000. The SIM is sold at TSH 24,000.

They offer a huge variety of data packages from 1 GB at TSH 15,000 to 200 GB at TSH 1400,000 per month. Max. speed is 21 Mbps.

TTCL (4G/LTE only) Edit

TTCL

TTCL for Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd. is the state-owned monopoly landline provider in the country. TTCL launched its 4G/LTE mobile data network in 2015 with a five-year rollout plan to cover all regions and main roads in the country. It started in Dar es Salaam on 1800 MHz FD-LTE (band 3) and 2300 MHz TD-LTE (band 40)

In 2016 they announced to deploy 4G/LTE services countrywide by 2018, as the operator intends to accelerate coverage. A number of regions that will benefit from the initiative in phase one: Arusha, Iringa, Mbeya, Dodoma, Morogoro, Mtwara, Mwanza, Tanga, Kilimanjaro and Unguja.

Their products are more directed to home users in lack of a stable landline connection than to mobile internet users. More infos and SIM cards can be obtained from their offices (list).

Smart (4G/TDD-LTE only) Edit

Smart-0

Finally Smart, owned by Industrial Promotion Services (IPS), a Kenyan-based infrastructure developer, launched mobile networks in Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. In Tanzania they operate a 4G/LTE network based on TDD-LTE on 2300 MHz (= band 40) mainly in the capital area.

In 2017 they offer monthly 4G/LTE bundles for MiFi dongles, 4G/LTE compatible smartphones or routers starting at TSH 14,000 for 3 GB up to TSH 385,000 for 200 GB. For the latest listings check their Twitter account.

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