For the first time in four years, East Africa Com will be held in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, instead of Nairobi. The organisers have cited the continued unrest in Kenya for the move.
The annual congress and exhibition for the region (formerly called GSM>3G East Africa), will bring together over 400 telecommunications professionals to discuss the evolution of the region's market. The move from its previous location in Nairobi is due to the continuing political uncertainty in Kenya, which is making travel
Vitalis Olunga, chairman of GSM Africa (partner of the congress) and head of wholesale at Kenyan operator Safaricom, supports the move, saying: "the political situation in Kenya is uncertain and may take time to resolve".
Tanzania is a good alternative to host this year's congress. Its communications comprises four GSM operators (Celtel, Millicom/Tigo, Vodacom and Zantel), and a dynamic incumbent fixed-line operator, TTCL, whose mobile operation is run by Celtel.
As in the rest of the region, voice remains the major telecommunications service in Tanzania, which was also one of the first countries to offer regional roaming.
However, network developments are setting the trend for the growth of data services. Vodacom Tanzania pioneered WCDMA/HSDPA as early as the first quarter of 2007 and WiMAaxwas available in the country at the end of the year.
Two of Africa's largest Internet service providers, Africa Online and Afsat, have subsidiaries in Tanzania, and a number of alternative service providers are making a space in the market.
East Africa Com will take place on 8 and 9 April.