Amotel appoints World Telecom Labs as supplier for rural Tanzania

Pervasive connectivity still a pipe dream in Africa?
Pervasive connectivity still a pipe dream in Africa?

Telco TowerWorld Telecom Labs (WTL) has revealed that it has been appointed by Amotel to bring voice and data to remote rural villages close to Lake Tanganyika in the Katavi Region. These services will be expanded to other villages in the Kigoma, Njombe and Kilimanjaro regions in the future.

In June 2015 Amotel became the first licensed Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) in Tanzania with a mission to embrace new innovations and developments to serve the rural areas. Amotel has entered a business agreement to operate as an MVNO through  Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL), the country’s national telecom company.

Amotel will initially be deploying WTL’s new Vivada system (Village Voice and Data) to build low OPEX, low-CAPEX networks in three villages that are not currently covered by any kind of network.

The  project is being financed by the Universal Communications Service Access Fund (UCSAF) as part of its US$9.6 million investment to improve connectivity in Tanzania which was announced in April. The BuddeComm research group estimates that Tanzania’s mobile penetration rate was 75% in 2015 whilst fixed lines were 0.3% and Internet 26%.

Professor Robert Mabele, The Board Chairman of Mkulima African Telecom Company Limited, MTC-Amotel, said “We know that connectivity in rural areas leads to economic development and improvements in the quality of life. Amotel is a company which takes its responsibilities very seriously and we are determined to make a difference.

We evaluated a number of rural systems and WTL’s Vivada was consistently top across our scoring criteria. The build has already started and we are extremely impressed with the experience and enthusiasm of the WTL team.”

WTL’s Vivada has been specifically developed to provide operators large and small with a cost-effective, quick to deploy and sustainable system for rural GSM and data connectivity. It runs on less than 200W which can be supplied by solar with battery back-up.

Vivada recognises that multiple revenue streams will ensure a sustainable business model. It can deliver services to all types of pre and post-paid customers with varying telecoms budgets including GSM for every type of handset; Wifi connectivity for smartphones, tablets, laptops and PCs – and connectivity to cybercafés and hotspot call cabins.

Vivada includes a micro GSM base station, wifi routers and modems, backhaul integration, billing software, VoIP switches and an SMS server. Details of the entire package can be found at

Traffic from the village is validated by WTL’s real-time charging system and voice calls are then converted into VoIP and compressed using WTL’s award-winning VoIP SBC which uses patented technology to minimise the amount of backhaul bandwidth required. Calls are transferred to a hub in Dar es Salaam where a WTL switch routes it onwards.

WTL Managing Director Leigh Smith said “We are well-established in Africa as an innovative technology company which understands the market and can customise its offering.  The challenges in building and maintaining networks in rural areas are well-documented and haven’t changed much over the years.

Our rural offering has been developed with these challenges in mind and is proving to be very attractive to operators who are looking for reliable ways to deploy low-CAPEX, low-OPEX networks in rural areas.”

WTL is exhibiting at this year’s AfricaCom show – stand A9 – and has been shortlisted with its customer Interconnect Clearinghouse Nigeria Limited (ICN) in the Best Network Improvement category for their work in increasing capacity in Nigeria.

Staff Writer