Vodacom Tanzania has become the first telecom to launch the 5G service in Tanzania on September 1.
"Having been the first to launch 5G in Africa, this is an exciting milestone in Vodacom’s history as we continue to densify 5G services across our African markets, bringing the continent closer to the global digital economy through the latest generation of mobile technology," Vodacom Group CEO Shameel Joosub said.
The new non-standalone 5G service offers customers faster speeds, and lower latency and will support the development of emerging technologies in Tanzania, such as the Internet of Things.
Vodacom Tanzania will deploy various sites in Dar es Salaam with a target to expand 5G technology to approximately 230 locations in the country, including Arusha, Dodoma, Mwanza, Iringa, Kagera, Zanzibar, Mbeya and more.
"I congratulate Vodacom for paving the way for digital transformation in Tanzania, and the government fully supports this breakthrough through its various sector ministries because we know technology has the power to transform lives and help the country achieve SDG targets in areas such as health, agriculture, energy, logistics and many more. I call on entrepreneurs, businesses, innovators, and ministries to tap into this 5G network and transform this nation. The government pledges its support to you," Nape Nnauye, Minister for Communication and Information Technology, Parliament of Tanzania said.
The network will be available for fixed network customers through Vodacom’s 5G routers, and for smartphone users with 5G capable devices. Customers can expect to enjoy speeds of up to 400 megabits-per-second (Mbps), with plans to offer more than 800Mbps in the coming months. Vodacom expects the network to achieve speeds of up to 1 Gigabit-per-second once the 5G spectrum is made fully available.
Tanzania is joining Ethiopia, Botswana, Egypt, Gabon, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mauritius, Nigeria, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, when it comes to testing or deploying 5G.
Analysts predict that 5G will add an additional $2.2 trillion to Africa’s economy by 2034. This is coming a week after MTN Nigeria became the first telecommunication provider in Nigeria to roll out the 5G mobile network.
According to the Nokia MEA Broadband Index Report [pdf], 5G technology adoption in Africa will grow steadily, driven by the evolution of the device ecosystem and 5G spectrum allocations in many countries. While 4G subscribers in the Southern Africa region are projected to reach 105 million (58 per cent of total subscribers) by 2026, 5G will contribute more than one-fifth of data traffic in the same time frame.
North African operators have seen a high demand for mobile broadband and the region is expected to have a 20 per cent increase in total subscribers by 2026, compared to 2022.