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Tanzania

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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 will be merged soon. 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 neighboring Kenya or Uganda. 2G/GSM is on 900 and 1800 MHz and 3G in some bigger villages and towns on 2100 MHz on all providers. While operators have so far been able to deploy mobile networks to up to 90% 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 on 1800 MHz.

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

  • 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 the article.

SIM cards can be purchased pretty much everywhere. Like in most of Eastern Africa, a prepaid SIM card is used as a payment system too. 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 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 (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 2.827 per MB.

These bundles called Cheka Internet are offered:

Time Volume Price
1 day 150 MB TSH 500
400 MB TSH 1000
2 GB TSH 2000
2 nights (11pm-5am) 4 GB TSH 1500
7 days 1.1 GB TSH 5000
2.1 GB TSH 8000
10.2 GB TSH 12000
30 days 600 MB TSH 5000
2.1 GB TSH 15000
10.2 GB TSH 35000
20.4 GB TSH 50000
31 GB TSH 95000

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

For data, you need to add packages called Yatosha Internet:

Time Volume Price
24 hours 50 MB TSH 250
150 MB TSH 500
400 MB TSH 1000
2.5 GB TSH 2500
7 days 500 MB TSH 3000
1 GB TSH 5000
2.5 GB TSH 10000
30 days 450 MB TSH 3000
3 GB TSH 15000
6 GB TSH 25000
12 GB TSH 35000

Activation is by *149*99#. Facebook is zero-rated and a free YouTube allowances is added too for night use.

For night use, you can add a free bundle at TSH 600 with unlimited data by*149*99# starting midnight.

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 will 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), but generally a low coverage.

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 package is TSH 30.72 per MB. These bundles called Internet Packages are offered n 3G and 4G/LTE:

Time Volume Price
22 hours 130 MB TSH 500
350 MB TSH 1000
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 almost no coverage on the mainland. It started in 2014 in Dar es Salaam only. 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. For the meantime all clients can roam on the Tigo network for free giving it good coverage on the mainland (coverage map). Normally, Zantel can be only an option, if you go to Zanzibar mostly, because it has the best coverage there. 4G/LTE started in Zanzibar on 1800 MHz.

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
300 MB TSH 500
1 GB TSH 1000
2 GB TSH 2000
1.5 GB night TSH 500
7 days 1 GB TSH 3000
2 GB TSH 5000
6 GB TSH 8000
10 GB TSH 12000
30 days 2 GB TSH 10000
3 GB TSH 15000
12.5 GB TSH 25000

To purchase type *149*07# 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 90% of the population in 26 provinces by 2G or 3G.

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*

Data feature packages Edit

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

Halotel-0

To activate a package, enter *148*66# and choose the package.

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

  • 1 GB: 500 TSH
  • 10 GB: 1500 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 149000 or routers at TSH 320000. The SIM is sold at TSH 24000.

They offer a huge variety of data packages from 1 GB at TSH 15000 to 100 GB at TSH 740000 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 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 2016 they have announced the launch of weekly and monthly 4G/LTE bundles offering unlimited data browsing and streaming on any device including MiFi dongles, 4G/LTE compatible smartphones or routers. The telco is offering either a weekly deal, priced at TSH 30,000 or a monthly pass for TSH 69,000. Furthermore, they offer these capped packages.

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