Commercial 3G HSDPA next month MOBILE telecommunications operator Tanzania will offer a commercial 3G HSDPA service in the capital Dar es Salaam next month, says Romeo Kumalo, MD of Vodacom Tanzania.

"The technology supporting 3G services has been operational since early December as a testing phase to optimise the network," Kumalo says.

This makes Tanzania one of the first countries on the continent to have such a network, says Vodacom chief communications officer . Vodacom SA and telecoms operator Namibia MTC also provide 3G capabilities.

The 3G HSDPA network is part of Vodacom Tanzania`s $1.3 million capital expenditure programme to extend the network. "The company plans to extend the 3G capabilities to other regions of Tanzania after successful assessment of the first 3G roll-out," says Kumalo. It will provide Tanzanians with high-speed wireless data and video telephony services, which will benefit business operations in the capital, adds Kumalo.

He notes that there have been challenges in rolling out 3G in the East African country. "The biggest challenge most notably is the poor infrastructure in the East African region."

Kumalo emphasises the Tanzanian telecoms market is worth investing in, despite the challenges.

He says he has seen growth in Vodacom Tanzania`s customer base in the last two years. According to the company`s statistics, the subscriber base increased by 74%, from 1.2 million in March 2005 to 2.1 million by March 2006. Vodacom Tanzania recorded another increase to 2.6 million in September 2006.

Tags: Telecoms  Africa