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Uganda - Telecoms Infrastructure, Operators, Regulations - Statistics and Analyses

  • September 2016
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 22 pages

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In recent years reforms have transformed Uganda's economy, establishing consistent growth which is anticipated to remain above 5% into 2017. Reforms within the telecom sector have also established one of the most competitive markets in the region. The entry of MTN as the second national operator to compete with Uganda Telecom in all telecom sectors revolutionised the availability and quality of services. To a large extent the incumbent has been left behind, as it suffers from high debt, insufficient assets, poor quality of service, and an inefficient management culture which has led to the appointment of three Managing Directors in as many years.

A simplified and converged licensing regime has significantly reduced barriers to market entry and increased competition, but this has also led to price wars. Fixed-line infrastructure remains poor, with low penetration, and in consequence fixed-line broadband penetration is also low. As a result, consumers have flocked to mobile infrastructure to provide voice and broadband services.

With seven mobile networks, Uganda's mobile market is overcrowded. Some market movement during the last two years has resulted in consolidation, while Orange exited the market in mid-2014 when it sold its assets to Africell Holding. The cost of international bandwidth has fallen dramatically following the landing of international submarine fibre optic cables on the African east coast, to which landlocked Uganda is connected via a national fibre backbone extending to its borders with adjacent countries. This has helped reduce the previously exorbitant cost of broadband and provided the necessary backhaul to carry the growing traffic which has resulted from the widening reach of LTE networks.

Key developments:

Utility UETCL contracts ZTE to extend its fibre transmission networks; telecoms regulator and Broadcasting Council merged into a single regulatory body; Orange Uganda rebranded as Africell Uganda; regulator threatens to revoke Uganda Telecom licenses for failing to address debt and pay bills; report update includes the regulator's market data to March 2016, operator data to Q2 2016, recent market developments.

Companies mentioned in this report:

Uganda Telecom (UT, LAP Green), MTN Uganda, UMEME, SEACOM, Infocom (Altech, Liquid Telecom), Internet Solutions.

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