NEC Corporation, a leader in the integration of IT and network technologies that benefit businesses and people around the world, Thursday announced that it was upgrading microwave links on behalf of the Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) in a deal worth US$1.6 million.
Under the project, six key rural and island locations in the country are being connected to double mobile network capacity and meet demand from local people, enterprises and tourists.
The government has already inaugurated the route from Dar es Salaam, the country’s main economic centre, to Zanzibar Island.
Further connections from Shinyanga to Maswa in the northwest and Mikumi to Kidatu in southeastern Tanzania are planned to open soon.
TTCL uses NEC’s iPASOLINK 400, 1000 and 5000iPS solutions which support a hybrid TDM and IP-based mobile backhaul service.
This enables the operator to continue to leverage investments in existing legacy TDM systems for voice traffic and use high speed, high capacity Ethernet for data with the option of transitioning to an all-IP network to enable highly efficient long haul transmissions in the future.
According to NEC, the solution can also support the expansion of LTE network services when required with minimal capacity upgrades, in addition to the 3G networks of today.
It features Ethernet OAM (Operations, Administration, and Maintenance) for performance monitoring and fault isolation and troubleshooting to ensure system resilience, uptime and deliver a consistently high quality of service.
“Our latest mobile infrastructure upgrades are a key part of the important work the Tanzanian government is undertaking to deliver our Vision 2025 programme and use the latest communication technologies as a tool for sustainable development,” said Tanzania’s Minister of Communication, Science and Technology, Makame Mbarawa.
“We’re pleased to continue our long-standing relationship with NEC to support the needs of communities and entrepreneurial businesses throughout the country,” he added.
Meanwhile, Eugene Le Roux, managing director at NEC Africa, commented: “Tanzanian citizens will see a noticeable difference in the mobile network’s capacity to handle even more web browsing and m-commerce transactions as a result of this upgrade.
“NEC has been providing innovative technologies to Tanzania Telecommunications Company for over 40 years and we’re delighted their customers will continue to benefit from our latest high speed, future-proofed mobile backhaul solutions.”
According to experts, wireless mobile backhaul, with onward transport via Ethernet to the core network, is essential in Africa to extend mobile broadband services to remote areas where it’s not possible to make fiber available.
It helps to ensure high speed, cost-effective service coverage in difficult terrains and across geographic barriers like islands or mountains.
The Dar es Salaam link supports Fast Ethernet (FE) and Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) interfaces with packet switching capacity of 40 to 48 Gigabits per second (Gbps) for rapid mobile data transfer with smart bandwidth and capacity utilization and management.
Demand for mobile broadband is growing strongly to support key industries like agriculture, giving businesses access to market prices, weather forecasts and agronomy information at the touch of a button.
In addition, this enables rural populations to access to public services like a new birth registration website to support accurate assessments of local demand for education and social services.
Tanzania has high mobile penetration rate of 75 percent as of the end of December 2013, but just 14 percent of the over 40 million population have fixed internet at home and a minority of 0.4 percent own a land line.
Already 10 percent of Tanzania’s GDP is transacted through mobile commerce.
NEC has been supplying telecom technologies to TTCL since 1972, including over 29,000 microwave backhaul radio units to date. TTCL is majority owned by the Tanzanian government with a 35 percent stake held by the India-based operator Airtel.
TTCL currently provides voice and data communication services to over 300,000 business and residential customers in Tanzania. The company also provides network services to other licensed telecom operators.
Besides, the Government of Tanzania has commissioned TTCL the management role of the National ICT Broadband Backbone (NICTBB). NICTBB network covers most of the country as well as neighbouring Rwanda, Burundi, Malawi, Zambia, Kenya and Uganda.
While Tanzania is becoming the regional hub of ICT, TTCL is in final touches to establish a unique Tier-1 IP PoP that will improve the quality of internet service and relatively lower down the price of international bandwidth in the region and facilitate regional connectivity.