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Uganda - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Digital Media - Statistics and Analyses

  • October 2016
  • -
  • Paul Budde Communication Pty Ltd
  • -
  • 81 pages

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Uganda sees more Wi-Fi launches based on Google’s Project Link

Uganda’s buoyant economy has seen consistent growth in recent years, which is anticipated to remain above 5% into 2017. This has had positive effects on the telecoms sector, which has also benefited from a host of reforms aimed at developing 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 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 which have placed greater strain on operators. 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: the mobile networks account for the vast majority of all internet accesses.

With seven mobile networks, Uganda’s mobile market is overcrowded. Orange Group 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.
In common with other countries in the region, mobile voice and data services have had a profound effect on Uganda’s telecom market, particularly given the poor condition of fixed-line infrastructure. With recent investment in LTE technologies, the reach and capabilities of mobile broadband services have increased measurably. This has led to a range of social benefits, including the ability of individuals to make use of banking and a range of m-commerce services.

Uganda was one of the first countries in sub-Saharan Africa to be connected to the internet. Although the initial connections to fibre cables caused prices for bandwidth to fall to a fraction of their former cost, retail pricing of services remains relatively expensive, especially when considering purchasing power parity.


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; Smile Communications launches commercial VoLTE service, contracts Ericsson for managed services, launches Smart Pesa m-money service;
LTE infrastructure expanding;
SIM card registration deadline again extended;
Roke Telkom launches Wi-Fi service based on Google’s Project Link wholesale network;
Liquid Telecom launches FttP services;
Phase 2 of the migration to digital broadcasting completed;
Gilat Satcom launches satellite broadband service;
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, Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel), Warid Telecom (Essar), Orange Uganda (HiTS Telecom), i-Tel, Simba Telecoms, Standard Chartered Bank, Monitise, American Tower Corporation (ATC), Eaton Towers, Smile Telecom, Smart Telecom, Sure Telecom, K2 Telecom, Africell (Lintel), UTL Online, Africa Online, Spacenet, Foris Telecom, Talk Telecom, Mo Telecom, Goal Technology Solutions (GTS), UMEME, WBS Television, NTV Uganda, MultiChoice, Gotv, Jump TV, Zuku TV (Wananchi).

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