TANZANIAS mobile telephone industry now accounts for five per cent of mobile phone subscribers in sub-Saharan Africa. The 2009 International Telecommunications Union (ITU) report says Tanzania has the fourth highest number of subscribers, after Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya that respectively account for 26 per cent, 19 per cent and 7 per cent of mobile cellular subscriptions in the region. For the past eight years, mobile phone subscribers have increased from less than 300,000 to over 14.09 million, translating to 25 per cent penetration. Neighbouring Kenya had 17.4 million mobile phone subscribers by end of June last year, translating to 45.7 per cent penetration. Tanzania and Ghana have contributed a significant share of subscribers, with five per cent each, and Cote dIvoire joins the fray with four per cent. The report titled Information Society Statistical Profiles 2009 Africa, notes that "Growth in Nigeria has been very strong. Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania and Cote dIvoire have also accounted for the change in distribution of mobile connections. The report, by the United Nations telecoms arm, also notes that mobile telephone growth over the last five years has defied all predictions and lauds Africa as the region with the highest mobile growth rate. The achievement is highlighted by the fact that by the end of 2008, Africa had 246 million mobile subscriptions. And the mobile penetration has risen from just five per cent in 2003 to well over 30 per cent today. "The high ratio of mobile cellular subscriptions to fixed telephone lines and the high mobile cellular growth rate suggest that Africa has taken the lead in the shift from fixed to mobile telephone, a trend that can be observed worldwide" says the report. Despite rapid growth, however, Africas ICT penetration levels in 2009 are still far behind the rest of the world, and very few African countries reach ICT levels comparable to global averages. According to ITU, less than five per cent of Africans use the Internet, and fixed and mobile broadband penetration levels are negligible. Both end-users and industry players still face significant challenges in increasing ICT uptake levels. "These include the lack of full liberalisation of markets and poor infrastructure. In addition, prices for ICT services remain very high, compared to income levels, and broadband Internet services are out of the reach of most Africans," said ITU in the report. In Africa, Angola has the lowest airtime Value Added Tax and excise duties whereas those of Tanzania are highest after Zambia, Rwanda and Uganda. SOURCE: DAILY NEWS, TANZANIA: JAN. 1st 2010, Je matumizi ya simu hizi anasukuma maendeleo kwa asilimia kubwa au ni Longer Longa Times tuuuuuuuuuuuuuu!!!