The military telecom group Viettel will start building a third-generation (3G) mobile network in Tanzania on November 1.

The network is expected to become operational in July 2015 after its 13,000-km fibre-optic cable broadband system is completed, according to Tanzanian Minister of Communication, Science and Technology January Makamba.

By 2016, Viettel’s services are hoped to cover around 4,000 local villages currently without the Internet.

Besides, the firm will offer low-cost smartphones and free Internet access for local schools, hospitals and offices.

Tanzania’s mobile telecoms sector has grown rapidly over the past decade. The second largest economy in East Africa now has about 29 million mobile subscribers of several operators including Zantel, Vodacom Tanzania and Tigo Tanzania .

In the neighbouring country of Mozambique, Movitel, a joint venture between Viettel and a local firm, has operated successfully with 5 million subscribers, becoming the leading mobile service provider in the country.-VNA