Saturday, November 15, 2008

Vodacom to introduce high speed cafes in three cities

The mobile phone company, Vodacom Tanzania Limited, supported by two multinational organisations-GSMA Development Fund and Qualcomm, has unveiled a plan to introduce high speed internet cafes in three Tanzanian major cities. According to a press statement issued recently in Dar es Salaam, the initial three cafes will be set up in Dar es Salaam, Dodoma and Arusha, it said. These cafes would use a high speed broadband connection known as Wireless Reach Initiative. Run by local entrepreneurs, each Internet cafe will be equipped with several computer terminals connected to Vodacom`s HSPA network, which can provide download speeds of up to 7.2 megabits per second. The statement said users would be able to pay a small fee to access the computer terminals, which will enable them to surf the Internet to find important information about everything from education to health to commodity prices to weather forecasts.

People at the internet café in Sengerema district, Mwanza region, the compelling problems on low bandwidth discourages users in most cafes in the country.

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 statement added that the cafes would 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. Tanzania is one of the fastest developing countries in Africa today with an average GDP growth of 6.5 per cent per year. Availability of information and communications are key to fostering this growth, the statement added. Vodacom Tanzania Limited, through its voice and data services for the last eight years, has been in the forefront of ensuring meaningful access to communications for the people of Tanzania. Dietlof Mare, Vodacom Tanzania Managing Director was quoted in the statement saying: “We are very proud to add to our bid as a total communication solutions provider to the people of Tanzania our new alliance with the GSMA and Qualcomm to bring high-speed Internet cafes to this country.
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, said the statement. Qualcomm, as a leading 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.

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