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Statement by H.E. Mr. Peter Msolla, Minister of Communications, Science and Technology 

Your Excellency Hamadoun Toure, Secretary General of the ITU,
Your Excellency Houlin Zhao, Deputy Secretary General of the ITU,
Your Excellencies Ministers of ITU Member States,
Distinguished delegates,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a singular honour and privilege for me to address this session of the World Telecommunications Policy Forum (WTPF). Let me at the outset take this opportunity to thank our hosts in Portugal and the ITU for organising this forum. This forum will discuss several issues and focus on four major themes:

  • Convergence, including internet-related public policy matters,
  • Next Generation Networks -NGN,
  • Emerging Telecommunications Policy and Regulatory Issues, and
  • International Telecommunication Regulations.

Let me appraise you briefly on these issues with regards to the situation in the United Republic of Tanzania.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished, delegates,

Let me start with Emerging Telecommunications Policy Issues. Back in the early 1990s Tanzania just like all other African countries, was in a situation where the ICTs sector was under state monopoly. However, it became apparent that the government alone had no adequate resources to develop the basic infrastructure and network to provide information and communication services to the people. As part of the liberalisation process initiated in 1992 in response to the effects of globalisation, the government decided to liberalise the communications and broadcasting sectors, through the Broadcasting Services Act No. 6 of 1993 and Tanzania Communications Act No. 18 of 1993 respectively. The process involved separation of policy, regulation and operations in the first place and second separation of postal and telecommunication. This led to dissolution of the now defunct Tanzania Posts and Telecommunications Corporation and establishment of three separate institutions namely; The Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) to provide telecommunications services; the Tanzania Posts Corporation (TPC) to provide postal services and The Tanzania Communications Commission (TCC) the sector regulator. For the broadcasting sector the Tanzania Broadcasting Commission (TBC) was established to serve as the regulator.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished delegates,

We all acknowledge that the speed of technological evolution in the ICTs sector worldwide is so high that without adequate preparation it may not be easy to cope with. It is on this background that Tanzania has always strived to keep abreast with developments taking place in the ICTs industry by putting in place appropriate policies, legal and regulatory frameworks in order to facilitate harnessing of new technologies with the objective of enhancing socio-economic and political development. For example, in the attempt to cope with convergence of information and communication technologies, in 2003 the government of the United Republic of Tanzania formulated the National ICTs policy followed by the enactment of the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority Act No. 12 of 2003, which established a converged postal and electronic communications regulator, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA).

The broad objectives of the National ICT Policy are:

  • To provide a national framework that will enable ICTs to contribute towards achieving national development goals, i.e an integrated ICT – led Socio- economic development and
  • to transform Tanzania into a knowledge-based society through the application of ICTs.

To achieve these objectives the policy outlines key strategies including:

  • Strategic ICT Leadership aimed at building oversight and leadership capability to bring cohesiveness to the ICT environment. This involves increasing the use of ICT for equitable and sustainable socio-economic and cultural development as well as raising the level of awareness on the role and potential of ICT;
  • Development of an efficient, inter-operable, reliable and sustainable national ICT infrastructure that meets the international standards. The purpose of this is to ensure that there is a reliable state of the art ICT infrastructure, of adequate capacity, high speed and countrywide coverage;
  • To ensure that the government promotes and support the development of qualified personnel for efficient policy-making, regulation and management of information resources and services including the education, training and retraining of ICT managers, professionals and other operatives;
  • To review the legal and regulatory framework in order to ensure that the laws are conducive for the growth and development of ICT in the country and support the convergence of information and communication technologies;
  • To encourage all productive sectors to incorporate ICTs in their development plans; and
  • To establish an environment that is conducive for e-commerce transactions and competition including increased use of ICT in financial and banking transactions, deployment of e-Health services across the country, etc.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished delegates,
Implementation of these policy statements will be in line with our vision that Tanzania will become a hub of ICT infrastructure and ICT solutions that will enhance sustainable socio-economic development and accelerated poverty reduction both nationally and internationally.

Its noteworthy that the policy also envisages the vision 2025 by opening up opportunities that harness the five major attributes of high quality life; peace, stability and unity; good governance; a well educated and learning society; and a strong competitive economy capable of producing sustainable growth and shared benefits.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished delegates,
For policies to be effective, there must be established a strong regulator in terms of knowledge and equipment in order to enforce the policy and applicable laws. The establishment of the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority, the government agency responsible for regulation of the communications sector, was a move towards the implementation of the National ICTs Policy of 2003.

The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) is a Converged Regulatory Body established under the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority Act no.12 of 2003 for regulating of Postal, Broadcasting and Electronic Communications industry in the United Republic of Tanzania.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished delegates,
You will agree with me that, Policy-makers and regulators all over the world are currently re-thinking the basic principles of electronic communication regulation, licensing and spectrum management due to a technological, market and regulatory trend referred to as convergence.

In fact a number of countries if not all, have no choice but to re-vamp their licensing and regulatory frameworks. The goal is to better provide affordable access to the entire range of communication services from voice to high-speed Internet access to as many people as possible.

The process of convergence thus became a reality when Tanzania became one of very few African countries to liberalize fully its communication sector following the expiry of exclusivity rights given to incumbent telecommunication operators i.e. Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) on 23rd February, 2005.

The Converged licensing framework introduced in 2005 is being used as a key strategy to implement the full liberalization policy.

The objectives of the converged licensing framework are:

  • To encourage the growth of new applications and services
  • To simplify existing licensing procedures to ease market entry and operations;
  • To create a set of stand-alone regulations so that issues such as interconnection, Quality of service, spectrum and number allocations can be addressed comprehensively;
  • To ensure regulatory flexibility to address market and technological developments;
  • To ensure efficient utilization of network resources, so that individual networks may be used to provide a broad range of ICT services;
  • To encourage market entry by a full range of operators, including large scale and micro entrepreneurs; and
  • To ensure that the transition to a converged licensing framework fosters a level playing field among all operators.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished delegates,
I can not over-emphasize the importance of taking into consideration the underlying principles of the converged licensing framework which are;

  • Technological Neutrality where a licensee retains the ability to choose the technology and equipment to be used to provide the licensed service.
  • Service Neutrality
    This allows a licensee to take signals to the markets where services are mostly in demand and/or most cost- effective.
    Under the new licensing regime, four license categories are operational and these are:
     - Network Facility Licence (NFL)
     - Network Services Licence (NSL)
     - Application Service Licence ( ASL)
     - ontent service Licence (CSL)

Other licence categories include:

  • Postal Services Licence: Authorises the provision of postal services
  • Courier Service licence: Authorises the provision of courier services
  • Frequency Spectrum User Licence: Authorizes the Licensee to use frequency spectrum resource and own radio communication station(s)
  • Installation and Maintenance Licence: Authorises the installation and maintenance of electronic communication equipment and network.
  • Importation and Distribution Licence: Authorises Importation and distribution of electronic communication equipment an
  • Type-Approval: Authorizes the electronic communication equipment to operate in the United Republic of Tanzania.

The four major licence categories mentioned in the converged licensing framework are further subdivided into four market segments (International, National, Regional and District) in a manner that could open room for full competition.

These developments were further followed by streamlining and introducing a conducive legal and regulatory framework in the year 2005 which included the drawing up of 14 regulations.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished delegates,
The impact of introduction of the new policy leading to full liberalisation of the ICT sector has been quite remarkable. There have been a remarkable growth in the subscriber base; whereby in 2004 there were 2, 090 360 subscribers, while by December, 2008 there were 13,130 602 subscribers. In 2003 our teledensity was 4 % while today the same has risen to about 32%. This is the result of licensing of new operators who have made considerable investments into network development and expansion, thus giving access to most of the districts in the country including remotely located inhabitants. Before the introduction of the converged licensing framework, provision of mobile services was restricted to GSM technology whose capacity in terms of coverage is limited. However, under the converged framework new technologies including CDMA and WIMAX have been introduced. These, apart from providing wider coverage, they provide broadband services thus reducing the cost of network development. The Government will continue encouraging the regulatory authority to be innovative in order to ensure that the universal service goal is achieved.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished delegates,
Apart from the achievements mentioned above, there are a number of challenges faced by our ICT sector and they include:

  • The need to develop a National ICT backbone as well regional and international connectivity, considering that by June, 2009 we shall be having the SEACOM submarine cable landing point in Dar es Salaam. However, construction of ICT Backbone has now started.
  • The implementation of Analogue to Digital Broadcasting with the switchover by 2015
  • The operationization of the Universal Communications Access Fund (UCAF)
  • The need for Number Portability to increase level of competition;
  • Consumer Awareness and Education; and
  • Increased Demand for Frequency Spectrum.

Mr. Chairman and Distinguished delegates,
I wish to conclude my remarks by once again expressing my profound gratitude to the hosts of this conference and wish this forum success in all its deliberations.

I thank you for your attention.