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Mobile internet costs in Tanzania

Discussion in 'Tech, Gadgets & Science Forum' started by Uncle Rukus, Feb 4, 2012.

  1. Uncle Rukus

    Uncle Rukus JF-Expert Member

    #1
    Feb 4, 2012
    Joined: Jun 16, 2010
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    [h=1]Introduction[/h]
    The cost of internet has been dropping dramatically in East Africa, since even before the advent of the undersea fibre-optic cables which came in 2011. There are now a lot of options for visitors and residents; this article focusses on the costs of access for mobile access via the cell networks, using handsets or USB modems. Two years ago it was unthinkable to rent a movie on iTunes (data cost $200 for a 1.2GB film, taking days) – now you could do the same for $4, and even start watching it within 90 minutes.Most handsets use internet automatically these days, or require minimal setup. Using internet without subscribing to a ‘bundle’ (data and time-limited pre-paid connection) is fairly pricey, typically 150-200 TSH/MB – subscribe to a bundle and you’ll pay at least 80% less, or as much as 97% less!USB modems for your laptop are very convenient, and typically cost 25,000/- (keep an eye out for specials).Deciding on a bundle, given the 38 options from the five major cell providers, can be a bit tough … many users may find that they are limited by what is available at their location. In choosing the best and cheapest option, you’ll need to consider:
    • How much data are you likely to need? If you’re using your handset for email and internet and Skype, you’re unlikely to need more than 200MB in a month. If you watch YouTube all the time and download lots of GIS data you could easily use 1,000MB (1GB) in a day. In general, the larger the bundle you buy the cheaper the cost per unit.
    • How long will you need it for? A day? A week? The whole year?
    • How much are you willing to initially pay? It’s convenient to get a 15,000/- package for a week, but has a hassle of needing recharging every 7 days; a 150,000 package might be valid for months but you run the risk of not using your allocation, losing the modem, or not being able to take advantage of the whole package due to service issues.
    [h=2]Caveats:[/h]
    • This is based on data published by Tigo, Airtel, Vodacom, TTCL and Zantel as of 06[SUP]th[/SUP] January 2012. Things change, often without notice.
    • There are 33 different options available for internet from four different providers listed here. However, not all providers are available everywhere … and NOT ALL AREAS HAVE 3G OR EVEN EDGE SPEEDS!
    • Test the quality of service wherever you’re based. Quality of service varies a lot, to say the least. You may find constant disconnections, data corruption during big downloads, blocked access to certain services, etc.
    [h=1]Cost of bundles[/h][h=2]The Important data …[/h]
    The section after this has a table of all the bundles available, but let’s look immediately at the overall picture! Here’s a chart showing the cost (TSH / MB) of the various bundles on offer in January 2012.
    [​IMG]Costs per megabyte drop sharply with increasing size & cost of the bundle.
    As you can see, most costs per megabyte come in above 10 TSH – some as high as 50! (Remember though that the standard (no bundle) rate for most networks is 150-250 TSH/MB). Tigo, TTCL and Airtel stand out as having the lowest (<10TSH/MB) bundles, across a range of bundle sizes.Depending on how you use internet, there are different solutions.
    [TABLE="width: 90%, align: center"]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 200"]Usage[/TD]
    [TD="width: 450"]Suggestion[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 200"]Light use during a short visit (1 week); emails, some browsing.[/TD]
    [TD="width: 450"]
    1. Airtel’s monthly “Handset” bundle gives you 400MB for 2,500/-.
    For small initial payments nothing else even comes close; the next best is Tigo’s “Standard” for 10,000/- for only 7 days validity and 1GB of data (and even then, and extra 5,000 would get you +2GB with Airtel’s Weekly bundle).​
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 200"]Moderate use over a longer visit (up to 3 months), with lots of browsing and big attachments.[/TD]
    [TD="width: 450"]
    1. Airtel’s Handset bundle gives 400MB for 2,500, valid for the month.
    2. If you find it running out quickly, use Airtel’s Weekly bundles, 3GB for 15,000.
    If you don’t have huge bandwidth requirements, these are the best two options; Tigo’s per-MB price are 30% more expensive per MB but have 30 day validity and cost 30-100,000 per bundle.​
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 261"]Big media (movies / GIS imagery / etc) downloads regularly – > 5GB per month.[/TD]
    [TD="width: 450"]
    1. Tigo’s Max (60 day) bundle at 4.9 TSH/MB (15,000 per week).
    2. Airtel’s Weekly bundles at 4.9 TSH/MB (150,000 per two months).
    The cost per MB is the same. With Airtel there is a the inconvenience of having to recharge your modem every week, but has wider coverage than Tigo and a much smaller investment.​
    [/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
    [h=1]Further Reading[/h]
    [h=1]Data[/h]
    The data for this post is available as a Google spreadsheet. I will attempt to keep this up-t0-date as the providers change bundles.The table following shows the 33 bundles available from the four major cellphone data providers.Bundle = name from the provider; MB = megabytes of data provided; TSH = cost of the bundle; TSH/MB = cost per megabyte of the bundle; Validity = days the bundle lasts for. Available as a Google doc here.
    [TABLE="width: 0"]
    [TR]
    [TD="width: 76"]Provider[/TD]
    [TD="width: 188"]Bundle[/TD]
    [TD="width: 59"]MB[/TD]
    [TD="width: 67"]TSH[/TD]
    [TD="width: 70"]TSH/MB[/TD]
    [TD="width: 60"]Validity[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Airtel[/TD]
    [TD]Daily Bundle[/TD]
    [TD]20[/TD]
    [TD]500[/TD]
    [TD]25[/TD]
    [TD]1[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Airtel[/TD]
    [TD]Handset Browsing Bundle[/TD]
    [TD]400[/TD]
    [TD]2,500[/TD]
    [TD]6.3[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Airtel[/TD]
    [TD]1 Day bundle[/TD]
    [TD]300[/TD]
    [TD]3,000[/TD]
    [TD]10[/TD]
    [TD]1[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Airtel[/TD]
    [TD]Weekly bundle[/TD]
    [TD]3,072[/TD]
    [TD]15,000[/TD]
    [TD]4.9[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Airtel[/TD]
    [TD]Monthly bundle[/TD]
    [TD]8,000[/TD]
    [TD]70,000[/TD]
    [TD]8.8[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Airtel[/TD]
    [TD]Quarterly Bundle[/TD]
    [TD]24,000[/TD]
    [TD]200,000[/TD]
    [TD]8.3[/TD]
    [TD]90[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Airtel[/TD]
    [TD]Yearly Bundle[/TD]
    [TD]96,000[/TD]
    [TD]750,000[/TD]
    [TD]7.8[/TD]
    [TD]365[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Light[/TD]
    [TD]200[/TD]
    [TD]3,000[/TD]
    [TD]15[/TD]
    [TD]1[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Light[/TD]
    [TD]500[/TD]
    [TD]7,500[/TD]
    [TD]15[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Standard[/TD]
    [TD]1,024[/TD]
    [TD]10,000[/TD]
    [TD]9.8[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Light[/TD]
    [TD]2,048[/TD]
    [TD]28,000[/TD]
    [TD]13.7[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Max[/TD]
    [TD]4,096[/TD]
    [TD]30,000[/TD]
    [TD]7.3[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Standard[/TD]
    [TD]4,096[/TD]
    [TD]35,000[/TD]
    [TD]8.5[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Mini Max[/TD]
    [TD]7,168[/TD]
    [TD]75,000[/TD]
    [TD]10.5[/TD]
    [TD]60[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Max[/TD]
    [TD]15,360[/TD]
    [TD]100,000[/TD]
    [TD]6.5[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Tigo[/TD]
    [TD]Max[/TD]
    [TD]30,720[/TD]
    [TD]150,000[/TD]
    [TD]4.9[/TD]
    [TD]60[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]TTCL[/TD]
    [TD]Daily[/TD]
    [TD]50[/TD]
    [TD]1,500[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [TD]1[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]TTCL[/TD]
    [TD]Weekly[/TD]
    [TD]1,024[/TD]
    [TD]8,000[/TD]
    [TD]7.8[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]TTCL[/TD]
    [TD]Weekly[/TD]
    [TD]2,048[/TD]
    [TD]15,000[/TD]
    [TD]7.3[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]TTCL[/TD]
    [TD]Monthly[/TD]
    [TD]500[/TD]
    [TD]20,000[/TD]
    [TD]40[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]TTCL[/TD]
    [TD]Monthly[/TD]
    [TD]600[/TD]
    [TD]30,000[/TD]
    [TD]50[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]TTCL[/TD]
    [TD]Monthly[/TD]
    [TD]1,024[/TD]
    [TD]40,000[/TD]
    [TD]39.1[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]TTCL[/TD]
    [TD]Monthly[/TD]
    [TD]2,048[/TD]
    [TD]60,000[/TD]
    [TD]29.3[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]TTCL[/TD]
    [TD]Monthly[/TD]
    [TD]4,096[/TD]
    [TD]90,000[/TD]
    [TD]22[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Cheka Internet[/TD]
    [TD]20[/TD]
    [TD]500[/TD]
    [TD]25[/TD]
    [TD]1[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Cheka Internet[/TD]
    [TD]50[/TD]
    [TD]2,000[/TD]
    [TD]40[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Cheka Internet[/TD]
    [TD]150[/TD]
    [TD]3,000[/TD]
    [TD]20[/TD]
    [TD]1[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Internet Bomba[/TD]
    [TD]750[/TD]
    [TD]10,000[/TD]
    [TD]13.3[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Cheka Internet[/TD]
    [TD]250[/TD]
    [TD]10,000[/TD]
    [TD]40[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Spidi Internet[/TD]
    [TD]1,024[/TD]
    [TD]15,000[/TD]
    [TD]14.6[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Internet Bomba[/TD]
    [TD]2,048[/TD]
    [TD]30,000[/TD]
    [TD]14.6[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Spidi Internet[/TD]
    [TD]4,608[/TD]
    [TD]70,000[/TD]
    [TD]15.2[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Spidi Internet[/TD]
    [TD]12,288[/TD]
    [TD]200,000[/TD]
    [TD]16.3[/TD]
    [TD]90[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Vodacom[/TD]
    [TD]Spidi Internet[/TD]
    [TD]49,152[/TD]
    [TD]750,000[/TD]
    [TD]15.3[/TD]
    [TD]365[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Zantel[/TD]
    [TD]Z-Mini[/TD]
    [TD]50[/TD]
    [TD]1,500[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [TD]1[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Zantel[/TD]
    [TD]Z-Small[/TD]
    [TD]250[/TD]
    [TD]6,000[/TD]
    [TD]24[/TD]
    [TD]1[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Zantel[/TD]
    [TD]Z-Regular[/TD]
    [TD]500[/TD]
    [TD]8,000[/TD]
    [TD]16[/TD]
    [TD]7[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Zantel[/TD]
    [TD]Z-Mono[/TD]
    [TD]500[/TD]
    [TD]10,000[/TD]
    [TD]20[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Zantel[/TD]
    [TD]Z-Silver[/TD]
    [TD]2,048[/TD]
    [TD]40,000[/TD]
    [TD]19.5[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Zantel[/TD]
    [TD]Z-Gold[/TD]
    [TD]5,120[/TD]
    [TD]90,000[/TD]
    [TD]17.6[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [TR]
    [TD]Zantel[/TD]
    [TD]Z-Platinum[/TD]
    [TD]8,192[/TD]
    [TD]140,000[/TD]
    [TD]17.1[/TD]
    [TD]30[/TD]
    [/TR]
    [/TABLE]
     
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