A number of telecoms service providers in Tanzania have won a contract under the Universal Communication Services Access Fund (UCSAF), designed to help improve access to services in rural parts of the country. The Citizen Reporter
writes that in the wake of a tender announced in October 2012, the winners of the contract are: Vodacom Tanzania, Tanzania Telecommunication Company (TTCL), Tigo Tanzania and Airtel Tanzania. The east African nation’s UCSAF works to improve accessibility and participation in the provision of communication services, with a view of promoting social economic development of rural and urban underserved areas. In October last year the UCSAF invited sealed bids from ‘eligible and qualified bidders’ for the provision of basic voice call services in underserved areas in the country. The initiative resulted from a study which found that more than 2,000 villages across Tanzania lacked access to (wireless) telecoms services because it was not profitable for domestic network operators to invest there. Under the UCSAF, the government announced tenders covering 152 rural wards (covering 1.6 million people), worth TZS16 billion (USD10 million). However, only 52 wards were picked up by the four winning firms, covering just 316 villages. The telcos paid TZS9.3 billion.