Phones and Internet in Tanzania

phone and internet
Updated 2018-09-03 09:27

Whether you are traveling to Tanzania for a day, month, or decade, in this day and age you are going to want to be able to communicate with those in your network, near and far! This article provides a brief overview of the phone and internet climate in Tanzania so that you can be prepared to get connected upon arrival into the country.

Mobile connectivity

Interestingly, 82% of internet users in Tanzania access the internet via their mobile phones, and this number is growing. Mobile phone use in Tanzania, as well as other African countries, has exponentially increased over the past decade; this is due to an increase in coverage of mobile service providers, as well as cheaper mobile phones and data costs.

Although mobile connectivity rates are relatively high, overall internet access penetration rates in Tanzania are unfortunately still quite low. In 2017, a survey found that 43% of the Tanzanian population does not own a mobile phone, and this survey also revealed that one of the largest barriers to internet access is the price of smartphones. Although these have rapidly reduced through the years, they are still relatively expensive when considering the average income.

Service providers

The main mobile phone service providers in Tanzania include Vodacom Tanzania - a division of South African Vodacom, Tigo Tanzania, which forms a part of Millicom from Sweden, as well as Bharti Airtel Tanzania and Halotel, owned by Vietnam's telecoms operator Viettel.

Availability of Internet

In Tanzania's mainland, internet penetration is not particularly high. In June 2016, only 14.5% of households had a working internet connection. The availability of internet is largely dependent on whereabouts you are - in rural areas, wifi connections and network coverage are scarce, so be sure to factor this consideration into your travel plans. If you are in a major city, coverage largely depends on what area you are in. There are a number of internet cafes available, which will likely be your best bet if you are seeking high-speed connections. Otherwise, some hotels and restaurants will offer wifi too.

In Zanzibar, at least in the areas that foreigners typically visit, wifi is fairly available.

It might be a bit more difficult to get internet installed if you are living in an area on the outskirts of the central town areas. There are plenty of internet cafes, as well as restaurants and coffee shops that are more than happy to provide access to wifi.

Do note, however, that wifi connection speeds can be slow at times, especially if you are accustomed to high-speed fibre. Thus, if you are reliant on the efficient internet, especially for demanding services such as Skype, be sure to test a connection beforehand or inquire about your destination of choice.

Useful links:

Tanzania internet users hit 23 million
Tanzania Internet Market and Telecommunication Report

We do our best to provide accurate and up to date information. However, if you have noticed any inaccuracies in this article, please let us know in the comments section below.