There is no doubt that Information and Communication Technology (ICT) plays a vital role in the global socio-economic development particularly African countries. Indeed, developed countries are ahead of those lagging behind mainly because the former are more advanced in the ICT sector, which is an obvious development catalyst.
The encouraging news is that developing countries, Tanzania included, have realized this fact and are striving to invest or attract investors in the ICT sector. It is against this background that the Government of Tanzania has encouraged establishment of ICT related companies and institutions to ensure Tanzanians can also enjoy the many benefits of ICT innovations, credited for creating a global village, whose prosperity is not evenly shared.
One of the leading telecommunications companies in the country which are a result of the Government initiatives to attract investors in the sector is Zanzibar Telecommunications Limited Company (ZANTEL) which provide the highest quality telecommunication services to individual consumers, businesses and other telecommunications operators.
John Sicilima, Zantel Chief Information and Technology Officer, revealed in an interview in Dar es Salaam recently that the company was determined to ensure Tanzanians get a wide variety of top-notch mobile phone services through its network, which will enable them to change their lives for the better.
Sicilima said the company has completed the modernization of its network and continue to roll out new products, thus ensuring that customers are in position to move with the world trend in communications through data and voice.
One of the advantages enjoyed by Zantel in satisfying the needs of customers and having a wider reach, as far as provision of communication services in concerned, is the fact that it manages two fiber optic EASSY & SEAS undersea cables with landing points at Zantel Park in Dar es Salaam. These submarine cables connect to landlocked countries which no longer have to rely on satellite internet access to carry voice and data services.
Furthermore, it is noted that Zantel owns a data centre in Dar es Salaam that is housing a landing station for EASSY & SEAS fiber stations, and provides co-location facilities for other operators within and outside Tanzania.
“We also take pride in the fact that Zantel is today the best fastest internet data and voice services provider, thanks to its 3G and 4G infrastructure in place” observed Zantel Information and Technology Officer.
“Zantel is among the operators that are at the forefront in providing mobile money services through its Ezypesa platform”, Sicilima pointed out.
In an effort to provide more monetary transaction convenience to its customers Zantel has recently introduced interoperability with more networks to allow Ezypesa users to send and receive money to and from subscribers of Tigopesa, Halopesa, M-Pesa and Airtel money.
According to the company Information and Technology Officer, Zantel has partnered with some of Tanzania’s major commercial banks to enable Ezypesa users to easily do interbank transactions from mobile money wallet to bank and bank to mobile money wallet. The banks include Peoples Bank of Zanzibar (PBZ), CRDB, NMB, Amana Bank, Bank of Africa, Exim Bank, Access Bank and PBZ Islamic.
He also pointed out that apart from wallet to bank transactions, Ezypesa has a Masterpass QR service which allow Ezypesa users to make payments in eateries, department stores, hotels, supermarkets and other sellers of commodities.
It is noted as well that with Ezypesa customers can pay for utilities such as water and electricity, make payments for government services and fines for traffic violations. Ezypesa remains the only mobile financial platform in Tanzania with which one can pay Zanzibar Revenue Board and buy electricity in Zanzibar.
Zantel officials also observe that Ezypesa has not only made life easy for customers but has created active direct and indirect employment throughout the country, as there are more than 2,500 agents who operate actively across Tanzania.
“There are more remarkable things that Zantel has in store for Ezypesa customers which will be unveiled in the near future as experts in mobile financial services at Zantel are working hard in search of more financial solutions to add more value to this mobile money platform” a senior official disclosed recently.
In conclusion, Sicilima said Zantel will continue to improve its network and innovate new products to cater for customers interests in areas of education, health, agriculture, transport, commerce and many others.
He thanked the government for working with telecommunication companies to improve this sector, whose role in the country’s development is outstanding.
Among other services, Zantel is known for providing the fastest Internet in the market through its EASSY and SEAS optic fibre infrastructure.
Asha Kassim, a businesswoman based in Mtwara says she uses Zantel Internet and other services to do business with associates across the East African region, thanks to the company’s efficiency.
Ezypesa has played a significant role in improving people’s lives by offsetting the unemployment gap as Laurian Moshi, a university graduate puts it. “Due to lack of opportunities in the labour market when I graduated, I ventured into small scale business by becoming an Ezypesa agent which earns me a decent income. Mosha says his ambition now is to get a small loan, expand the Ezypesa business and forget about craving for the elusive government jobs.
The Zantel Technical Manager for Incident Management and Land Stations Omar Awadh (R ) John Sicilima,the Chief Information Technology Officer (C ) and Head of Network Oparations,Amir Dismas (L ) discussing technical issues about EASSY fibre optic landing station at Zantel headquarters in Dar es Salaam.