Telecommunications in Tanzania

Telephone and fax in Tanzania

East Africa is completely obsessed by mobile/smartphones and virtually everybody who can afford one now has one. As a result, the phone services offered at the old Telcom offices are seldom required these days and when we last visited in December 2012 to try to make a phone call, the staff looked at me as if I was a bit odd (though they were able to help me make a call – using the office phone!)

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For this reason, if you only want to make one or two calls while you’re in Tanzania you may as well use your hotel’s service – though this is seldom cheap -or from one of the internet cafes that offers a phone service too. Alternatively, you can pick up a local SIM card for just a couple of dollars from shops, supermarkets and sellers on the street; you can then invest in pay-as-you-go vouchers from one of the many mobile phone kiosks that have sprouted up over the past few years. If your existing phone is unlocked you can put the SIM card straight in there; if not, you can pick a phone up cheaply in Tanzania.

You’ll find, using a local SIM card, that calls are very reasonably priced, even to mobiles back at home.

You can also, of course, bring your own mobile phone and SIM card from home and use that – though this can be expensive. Furthermore, you often need to tell your network that you are going to East Africa before you leave home or you will probably find that you won’t be able to use the phone when you get there.

If you have a Smart phone, remember to check the tariff for downloading data and receiving emails etc – and if it’s extortionate (which it often is) then remember to switch off ‘data roaming’ (ie your phone’s internet connection) or you may find on returning home that your phone cost more than your climb!

Finally, if you are having trouble ringing home from Tanzania, try to tack an extra ‘0’ on to the front of the international dialling code: for example, if you wish to ring the UK but the phone continues to bar your call, dial 00044 (or 000144) rather than just 0044 (or 00144).

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