The Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF) and five Tanzanian mobile phones operators, namely Vodacom, Tigo, Zantel, TTCL, and Airtel, have signed an agreement worth TZS 12.7 billion (USD 7.7 million) in April 2014 to deliver telecommunication services to 86 wards in rural Tanzania.
According to the Tanzanian Minister for Communications, Science and Technology, Prof Makame Mbarawa, with this agreement over 450,000 residents in 511 villages in Tanzania will be connected to the telecommunication grid.
The 86 wards were divided among the telecom companies: 23 wards went to Tigo, 2 to Zantel, 16 to TTCL, 37 to Vodacom Tanzania, and 8 to Airtel.
According to Prof Mbarawa the UCSAF will provide subsidy to the telecom companies in exchange for reaching out to rural areas: “We have tried to convince some of the companies and to some extent, we have succeeded in signing a contract with them under which they will be given subsidy to provide services in rural areas”.
Prof Mbarawa also mentioned that the government expects to encourage mobile companies to cover 215 wards in the next two years by the end of 2014.
The Universal Communications Service Access Fund was established in 2006 by Universal Communications Service Access Act of Tanzania to promote universal access to information and technology services in Tanzania.