Subscriptions of feature phones – stripped-back, affordable mobiles – in Tanzania will account for 70% of total handset subscriptions in 2019.

However, smartphones are growing rapidly in the country and are set to surpass feature phones by 2024. In fact, smartphones in Tanzania will grow at a relatively fast compound annual growth rate of 19% and will account for more than 30 million subscriptions by the end of this forecast period.

This smartphone growth is largely driven by increasing 3G and 4G network deployments by mobile operators such as Vodacom and Tigo. For instance, Vodacom added more than 300 4G sites, reaching coverage of 23% of the population, and added more than 190 3G sites, reaching 52% of the population in 2018.

Moreover, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) mandated that the country’s mobile operators’ mobile broadband coverage should reach 90% of the population by 2024, providing opportunities for further 3G and 4G deployments in more rural areas and thus more mobile data usage.

Furthermore, telecom operators are increasingly offering affordable 3G and 4G smartphones to stimulate mobile data usage and thus future revenue. For instance, Tigo offers the Tecno S3 3G smartphone for TZS67,500 (US$29.04). Additionally, the mobile operators are offering data-centric plans including free access to OTT applications such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube. For instance, Tigo offers daily, weekly and monthly plans for only for social networks called “Social Packs” which are priced from TSZ1,000 (US$0.43).

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