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Vodacom, GSMA and Qualcomm Bring High-Speed Internet Cafes to Tanzania

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Vodacom, GSMA and Qualcomm Bring High-Speed Internet Cafes to Tanzania
October 16, 2008
By Anil Sharma, TMCnet Contributor


Three of Tanzania’s cities are now enjoying high speed Internet cafes. Vodacom, supported by the GSMA Development Fund and Qualcomm (News - Alert), through its Wireless Reach initiative, has connected Internet cafes in three of the cities to its HSPA mobile broadband network, enabling locals to gain high-speed access to the vast repository of information on the World Wide Web.

The initial three Internet cafes, in Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Arusha, are all set to be followed by more cafes in other parts of Tanzania.
Each of these three Internet cafés, which is run by local entrepreneurs, is equipped with several computer terminals connected to Vodacom's HSPA network, which can provide download speeds of up to 7.2 megabits per second.
Just by paying a small fee, Tanzanians would be able to use the computer terminals, which will enable them to access the Internet to find important information about everything from education to health to commodity prices to weather forecasts.
In a country where fixed lines and computers are scarce, the cafes will enable many ordinary Tanzanians to enjoy Internet access and the many associated benefits for the first time in their lives.
The cafes that are housed in converted shipping containers would also sell other Vodacom products and services, such as airtime vouchers, payphone calls and handset recharging, as well as acting as an agent for the M-pesa mobile money transfer service.
"These Internet cafes will ensure fast, affordable and reliable access to information for students, the business community and all Tanzanians who need to communicate and stay in touch with what is happening in the country, in Africa and the rest of the world," said Dietlof Mare, managing director of Vodacom Tanzania, in a statement.
 Vodacom Tanzania Limited (Vodacom) is Tanzania's cellular network offering GSM/3G voice and HSDPA broadband communication services to more than 4.5 million customers across the country.
Vodacom Tanzania has drawn on the expertise and resources of the GSMA Development Fund (News - Alert) and Qualcomm's Wireless Reach Initiative, to develop the business model and technology underpinning the Internet cafes.
Having supported the deployment of several hundred Internet cafes connected to mobile networks in Bangladesh, the GSMA Development Fund has extensive experience in this field. Qualcomm, as a developer and innovator of advanced wireless technologies and data solutions, including HSPA, is contributing by bringing its expertise to the project and enabling 3G software and hardware, network service, technology training and project management.
"Mobile broadband has the potential to bring affordable Internet access to hundreds of millions of people globally who live beyond the reach of fixed-line networks," said Dawn Haig-Thomas, director of the GSMA Development Fund. "The innovative shared access approach being deployed by Vodacom Tanzania demonstrates how operators can make the rich and important services offered by mobile broadband accessible to many more people."
The GSM Association (GSMA) is the global trade group representing more than 750 GSM mobile operators across 218 countries and territories of the world. The Association's members represent more than 3 billion GSM and 3GSM (News - Alert) connections — over 86 percent of the world's mobile phone connections. In addition, more than 200 manufacturers and suppliers support the Association's initiatives.
The primary goals of the GSMA are to ensure mobile phones and wireless services work globally and are easily accessible, enhancing their value to individual customers and national economies, while creating new business opportunities for operators and their suppliers.
"Qualcomm is pleased to support this project with the GSMA Development Fund through our Wireless Reach initiative," said Shawn Covell, senior director of international government affairs for Qualcomm. "The introduction of a mobile broadband technology such as HSPA will allow Tanzanians to connect to the world, enabling access to much needed resources at affordable prices. Supported by Vodacom's HSPA network, the Internet cafes will offer a gateway to educational, medical and other information essential to improving livelihoods."
Qualcomm believes access to advanced wireless voice and data services improves people's lives. The Company's Wireless Reach initiative supports programs and solutions that bring the benefits of connectivity to developing communities globally. Wireless Reach projects create new ways for people to communicate, learn, access health care and reach global markets.

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Anil Sharma is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Anil's articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Mae Kowalke

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