For those who require the regular use of a phone while in Africa for business or other purposes, you may wish to either rent a satellite phone, before departure or purchase a cell phone in Tanzania. An iridium satellite phone can be rented before your departure and you can use anywhere in Africa as long as you have a direct line of sight to the sky. Canada Satellite will mail you the satellite phone and all equipment (charger, batteries, plug adapter, instruction book, etc.) a few days prior to your departure.
Alternatively, you can purchase a Tanzania cell phone while in Arusha but please make sure you have at least a half-day in Arusha before your safari to purchase. A cell phone (i.e. Nokia or similar) costs about $60 and you can buy prepaid minutes on Celtel cards ranging from $5 to $50. You can then make and receive international calls instantly at very reasonable rates, which will be deducted from your prepaid Celtel card. Celtel is the major cell and mobile carrier in Tanzania and reception is good throughout Tanzania including Arusha, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Zanzibar and the central and southern regions of the Serengeti. There is no reception in the northern and western regions of the Serengeti.