The call was made by Communication and Information Technology minister Dr Faustine Ndugulile here yesterday shortly before witnessing the fifth phase of the signing of agreements to transmit rural communications.
The agreements were inked between the Universal Communication Service Access Fund (UCSAF) and three telecom service providers; Vodacom, Tigo and Airtel.
The minister said the ruling Chama cha Mapinduzi (CCM) election manifesto targets to increase internet penetration from 43 per cent to 80 per cent by 2025.
“It is important that we must start switching off the 2G technology and allow mobile technologies that accommodate 3G and above,” he said, adding that Tanzania should not lag behind in technology growth.
Dr Ndungulile was quick, however, to warn telecom operators that are leaking privacy information of their customers, saying the ministry will enact stern regulations to protect mobile users’ privacy.
“The government is aware of growing number of dishonest employees in the telecom companies this must end,” he said.
There 50 million registered sim cards according to official government records. 29 million mobile users access mobile money services while 24 millions of subscribers go on the internet using their phones.
The minister directed UCSAF to take serious actions to improve communication services in border areas.
Director of technical service at Vodacom Tanzania speaking on behalf of mobile operators expressed concern that a large number of mobile users phones only support 2G mobile technology.
He seconded the minister that availability of more powerful technology improves efficiency hinting that some countries in the industrial world are now rolling out 5G technologies.
“There more efficient systems and it is good thing for the government to recognise the potentiality to switch to 4G and 5G,” he said, calling for the government to set strategies that will help the availability of 4G and 5G supported handsets.
UCSAF’s Chief Executive Officer, Justina Mashimba, said the agreements signed yesterday will improve communication network in 173 villages across 61 wards in the country.
She said the contracts are for nine months and that upon completion over 700,000 residents will benefit. Mashimba said the agreement worth 6bn/- is part of the fund’s strategy to improve communication service in the country.
Apparently she said the fund has already earmarked areas in the border posts that need communication transformation and is working towards addressing the challenge. This year’s initiative will ensure a total of 12 million residents have access to quality communication in 3,025 villages or 1,055 wards.