It’s said that the biggest fear one has it that of public peaking. For me, my biggest fear is not having cellular service, and not being able to connect while on the go.

So, how does one connect while in Tanzania

Some quick tips to staying connected while on the go:
Keeping in touch while traveling in Tanzania is rarely a problem. You can get decent mobile phone reception even in some national parks. Telephone calls The “Tanzania Telecommunications Company Ltd” (TTCL) is the state owned telecom, operating all pay phones and landlines in Tanzania. As it is the case with most developing countries, telephone fixed-lines are not affordable for many ordinary people. However, the mobile network has blossomed throughout Africa in the past five years, and this is equally true of Tanzania.

With many used mobile phones for sale and the very low cost of getting a SIM card, 2000 Tsh, this is the popular choice of most Tanzanians. For many, a mobile phone is the first large purchase when they get a job. The major mobile service providers operate all over the country, even in some of the most remote areas, although service interruptions are common. If you find a taxi driver or tour guide that you like, ask for his/her mobile number. This is often the best way to reach them.

Using a mobile phone If you have an “unlocked” GSM 900/1800mhz frequency mobile phone (the same frequency as used in the rest of the world, apart from USA and Canada), you can purchase a local SIM card for 500 Tsh from a series of Tanzanian service providers. The most popular are Celtel , Vodacom , and Tigo . Zantel is a new arrival on the mainland and, through the national roaming agreement with Vodacom, currently has the largest network coverage.

mobile phones photo

Photo by Uncle Saiful

Air Time You can recharge your “Prepaid” mobile phone account by using “scratch-cards”, which are available everywhere. Just look for shops or even small tables set up along the road, with posters for the various mobile service providers. Those cards come in the following denominations: 500, 1000, 5000, 10000, 20000, and 50000 Tsh. If you plan on making frequent calls outside of Africa, you will need at least a 10000 Tsh-card. Making calls within Tanzania to a mobile phone Dial “0 & (telephone number)” or “+255 & (telephone number)” Making calls within Tanzania to a landline Dial “0 & (city code) & (telephone number)” or “+255 & (city code) & (telephone number)” Telephone codes for the Tanzanian cities (These numbers are only used when calling landlines) Dar es Salaam (22), Morogoro & Mtwara (23), Zanzibar & Pemba (24), Mbeya (25), Iringa (26), Arusha & Tanga (27), and Mwanza (28). Making international calls Dial “+ & (country code) & (area code, if any) & (telephone number)” or “000 & (country code) & (area code, if any) & (telephone number)”

In October 2006, Vodacom changed the second digit, not counting the first “0” or the “+255” country code, in their phone numbers from “4” to “5”, e.g.: 744 is now 754. Some magazines, books, travel guides, and advertisements may not have made the necessary corrections. All Vodacom mobile numbers starting with 744, 745, or 746 should be changed to 754, 755, and 756. Internet Internet cafés are more and more common throughout Tanzania.

They are easy to find in major urban areas, like Dar es Salaam and Arusha. International telecommunications have low capacity, and can be unreliable. Some mobile providers have started offering wireless internet service. Zantel, Vodacom, and Zain are the main providers. All urban areas and many rural areas that have mobile phone coverage also have mobile internet coverage. Wireless 3G coverage is available in many areas of Dar es Salaam, Arusha, and Zanzibar town. For the Zanzibar Archipelago Zantel seems to be the best option. On the continent there is more competition between the operators.

To use this service you can use your phone’s mobile browser. To use it with a computer, you must first purchase a CDMA PC Card or USB mobile receiver which plugs into your computer. This will set you back about 200,000 Tsh. If you have an unlocked CDMA phone with a modem cable, that will also work. Airtime is obtained using scratch cards just like mobile phones. Connection rates are dropping dramatically and there are packages of “unlimited” access for some period of time. For example, Zantel offers 3 days of unlimited transfer for 5000 TSh. Emergency Emergency Services: 112

In 2006, there was a huge scandal involving the emergency service number, a scandal that saw the resignation of the Chief of Police. During an armed robbery at a popular Indian restaurant, an employee dialed 112 to notify the police that a crime was in progress. He let the phone ring for over 30 minutes before hanging up. The following day, the media reported that the emergency number had been disconnected for over a month, and the police had not advised the public. Luckily, the emergency number has been reactivated; however, if you can, it’s probably better to go straight to the nearest police station, instead of dialing 112.

Other tips on staying connected while in Tanzania? Please add your comments and tips.