It can arguably be said that no other sector has grown at such an unprecedented speed as the telecommunications sector. We have grown from having less than 1% subscription in 2000 to over 100% subscription rate in Tanzania. It is obvious that this sector is vital to human development. Not only does it connect people through communications: It has also become a catalyst for the development of other sectors. In this series, we will look at the basics of the telecom sector.

Legal Framework

Several pieces of legislation govern this sector. The key ones are;

  • Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority Act of 2003
  • The Electronic and Postal Communications Act (EPOCA) of 2010 (as revised in 2022)
  • The Universal Communications Service Access Act, 2006
  • Over two dozen subsidiary legislation made under EPOCA and TCRA Act.


The telecom sector in Tanzania is heavily regulated. In addition to a general business license, a telecom firm will need at least four licenses: a) Network Facility License, b) Network Services License, c) Application Services License, and d) Spectrum Frequency Spectrum User Licence. These licenses are granted upon application to the TCRA, and are usually accompanied by payment of application fee, license fees, and annual royalty fees. It helps to note that without these licenses, it is impossible to provide telecommunication services in the country.

The license system has been developed to encourage entry into the telecom sector. As a result, licenses are given under a converged framework that adheres to the concept of technology neutrality. Furthermore, licenses are geographically categorized from district to international levels so that a company can begin at a level at which it is financially sustainable.

Local content/public shareholding requirement

There is also a local content requirement under Section 26 of the Electronic and Postal Communications Act. In the case of a holder of network facilities or network services licence, the law demands the holder to have a minimum public shareholding of twenty-five per cent of its issued and paid-up share capital as an ongoing obligation throughout the life of its licence. The minimum of twenty-five percent public shareholding requirement under subsection (1)(a) shall be obtained through a public offer in accordance with the Capital Markets and Securities Act

In the case of a content service licensee, the holder must have a minimum local shareholding of fifty one percent of its authorised share capital as an ongoing obligation throughout the life of its licence.

Minimum public shareholding requirements are not applicable to these services; namely

  1. network facilities or network services licence wholly owned by the Government;
  2. network facilities or network services licence in which the Government owns twenty-five
  3. per cent shares or more; and
  4. network facilities licence for the lease of towers.

For Questions or more information contact or

This article is not intended to replace professional advice. No one should rely exclusively on the information provided as a substitute for seeking professional advice. The writers or the Firm (AfriCorp Attorneys) are not liable for any use of the information contained herein and do not guarantee the accuracy of its contents from the date of publication to the date of usage.