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Vodacom connects rural Tanzania

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In the coming weeks, underserved communities in Tanzania will benefit from the recent trial agreement entered between Nokia Siemens Networks and Vodacom Tanzania with the aim of implementing the Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection Solution, which Vodacom wants to employ to further develop its mobile communication network in Tanzania. 

The agreement reached in November last year (2007), will allow Vodacom, supplier of universal communication services to East Africa (and Tanzania’s market leader and only operator with a commercial 3G network) to maintain its leadership in remote and rural coverage in Tanzania.
Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection was selected as the preferred service to connect remote areas, due to its innovative and unique ability to resolve the challenge of rural coverage to deliver cost effective network capacity (i.e. low capital expenditure, CAPEX) at a low operating cost (OPEX). This will benefit the millions of villagers in Tanzania who only have up to five Euros to spend on telecommunication services per household per month.  
Dietlof Mare, MD of Vodacom Tanzania comments: “We are pleased to have a partner that has a deep understanding of the emerging markets and who can combine technical and innovative business modeling competence.”
Peter Correia, Vodacom COO, adds: “The low OPEX and operational simplicity that the solution presents provides us with the necessary arsenal to maintain our coverage and quality leadership.”
Linda Khumalo, head of southern Africa sub-region of Nokia Siemens Networks, says: “We are happy to have found a visionary partner in Vodacom to bring delivery of Village Connection to Africa. The trial with Vodacom will allow us to prove the solution with an even wider demographic and technological scope – Village Connection was deployed extensively with great success in rural India. Vodacom aims to connect remote sites via satellite.
"The trial will also prepare Vodacom Tanzania to introduce new business models that defines Village Connection’s innovation and which will allow Vodacom to reach remote and rural customers who are currently not connected to a mobile network. In Tanzania’s mobile telecommunications industry overall market penetration is only at about 17%; and competition to capture the remaining share of the market is steadily increasing.”
As part of the project Nokia Siemens Networks provided consulting services to Vodacom Tanzania analysing what would be the most appropriate approach to reach the rural market in Tanzania. Nokia Siemens Networks and Vodacom Tanzania co-operate on a number of initiatives, among which Nokia Siemens Networks is Vodacom’s key supplier in core and 3G radio and the deployment of the African continent’s second 3G network.
Nokia Siemens Networks Village Connection trial is the first of its kind in Africa; it will test voice and SMS services on live networks and in some cases will use satellite to act as backhaul. The solution is IP (Internet Protocol) based, enabling cost-effective and flexible backhauling.
Vodacom currently services 4-million of Tanzania’s 6,5-million subscribers.