The telecommunications infrastructure in Africa varies greatly from region to region. While some countries are still operating on 2G and 3G networks, others are finalizing 4G deployments and looking to 5G in the coming years. For Tanzania's Tigo, it is the latter. The country's largest telecom operator is expanding all of its networks throughout the country as it begins the exploratory process of 5G deployments.
When it comes to network technology, the infrastructure in Tanzania is still fragmented.
In rural areas, 2G networks are still thriving, as most of the population is still using older mobile technology for communications. For Tigo, investing in 2G networks in these regions therefore makes a lot of sense, even though in many parts of the world this network is being replaced with 3G.
As reported by Abduel Elinaza on AllAfrica.com, the company said it is adding 260 2G networks sites in these rural areas, bringing the total to 2,700. The drive to deploy 2G network is being supported by initiatives from Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) and Global System for Mobile communication (GSM).
For 3G and 4G networks, Tigo is making investments in areas of the country in which these technologies are not performing well. With support from fiber cable, the company has 535 new 3G sites reaching 1,500 towers. The fiber infrastructure currently spans 2,294 kilometers with 22 district headquarters as part of the national ICT backbone footprint.
The 4G infrastructure has been increased with an additional 95 new sites, which were added in the last 12 months, bringing the total number of 4G sites to 300.
Tigo is planning to invest $70 million for these upgrades in the next 12 months. This is on top of another $75 million it invested in the past year. With these investments, the company said it wants to fulfill its strategic objective of transforming the 3G and 4G broadband experience of customers in Tanzania.
Regarding 5G, Elinaza quoted Tigo Tanzania Chief Technology Information Officer, Jerome Albou, as saying, “The 5G technology is yet to be rolled out globally but we are eyeing it for benefit of our clients.”
For developing countries around the world, the deployment of 5G will deliver many benefits, but the market is still lagging behind in terms of mobile devices capable of receiving 5G technology. As a result, smartphone manufacturers have introduced sub $100 devices to address these markets and help the billions of consumers around the world still using older phones.
Edited by Alicia Young