Telecommunications company Vodacom Tanzania Plc launched Tanzania's first fifth-generation (5G) mobile network. The new technology is expected to accelerate the country's digital transformation with download speeds up to 40 times those of 4G.

According to Hilda Bujiku, the company’s acting chief executive officer, the rollout of 5G service will start with the establishment of more than 200 5G sites in parts of Tanzania such as Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Dodoma, Mwanza, Iringa, Kagera, Njombe and also Zanzibar among others, by November 2022. “We promise to continue using technology to improve the lives of Tanzanians and lead digital transformation. As we launch 5G, we expect to reach 90% of Tanzanians with 3G and 45 by 2024.”

"4G is good, but due to community demands, there was a need for a higher technology with low delay, hence 5G. It will address many challenges in Tanzania," said Andrew Lupembe, network manager at Vodacom Tanzania.

In December 2021, the network operator won a 5G bid in Nigeria, beating its main competitor, Airtel Africa Plc, and becoming one of two telecom operators authorized to operate the next-generation network in Africa’s most populous country. As it stands, only a handful of African countries have so far launched the network, and even then, most of those launches are non-commercial in scope. But many of these countries are facing delays due to spectrum regulation clarity, commercial viability, deployment delays, low citizen purchasing power for 5G-enabled smartphones and the high cost of the internet.

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