Tanzania: Internet

Internet cafés are more and more common throughout Tanzania. They are easy to find in major urban areas, like Dar es Salaam and Arusha. Unlike South Africa and Northern Africa, East African countries have not had a high capacity undersea cable, which provides reliable and affordable telecommunications services, until recently. In 2009 the fiber optic infrastructure to tap into the undersea cables was still not in place. Currently, all telecommunications are routed through satellite links, which are few, costly, and unreliable when the weather turns bad.

Some mobile providers have started offering wireless internet service. Zantel, Vodacom, and Zain are the main providers. By the end of 2009, all urban areas and many rural areas that have mobile phone coverage also had mobile internet coverage. Wireless 3G coverage was available in many areas of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Zanzibar town.

To use this service you can use your phone’s mobile browser. To use it with a computer, you must first purchase a CDMA PC Card or USB mobile receiver which plugs into your computer. This will set you back about 200,000 Tsh. If you have an unlocked CDMA phone with a modem cable, that will also work. Airtime is obtained using scratch cards just like mobile phones. Connection rates are about 60 Tsh for 1 Mb or US$0.05 per MB. So 1 GB of download and upload will set you back US$50. Not cheap.

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