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Uganda - Mobile Market - Overview, Statistics and Forecasts


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The introduction of mobile telephony has revolutionised Uganda’s telecommunications industry since Celtel/Zain (now Bharti Airtel) launched the first network in 1995, followed by MTN in 1998, Uganda Telecom in 2001, Warid Telecom in 2008 and HiTS Telecom, in which France Telecom’s mobile unit Orange bought a majority stake in 2009. The intensified competition led to a price war which has accelerated subscriber growth but also reduced the average revenue per user (ARPU). The network operators started raising their tariffs again in 2011 and are trying to find ways of generating additional revenue streams. Mobile data and 3G broadband services as well as mobile money transfer and m-banking services are at the forefront of this development in a country where less than 20% of the population currently has internet access or holds a traditional bank account.

Key developments:

More than 90% of internet connections are mobile;
3G mobile broadband pricing varies widely, consolidation expected;
First 4G (LTE) network launched;
Major tower outsourcing deal signed;
Libyan government back in control of Uganda Telecom;
New regulations for SIM card registration may put temporary pressure on subscriber growth.

Companies covered in this report:

MTN Uganda (Telia); Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel); Uganda Telecom (UTL, LAP Green, Telecel, Orascom, Deutsche Telekom); Warid Telecom (Essar); Orange (HiTS Telecom); i-Tel; Simba Telecoms; Standard Chartered Bank; Monitise; American Tower Corporation (ATC), Smile Telecom.


1. Synopsis
2. Overview of Uganda’s mobile market
2.1 Mobile statistics
3. Regulatory issues
3.1 Licensing
3.2 Taxes
3.3 Infrastructure sharing
3.4 SIM card registration
4. Major mobile operators
4.1 MTN Uganda
4.1.1 Major equity transactions
4.1.2 Network infrastructure and services
4.1.3 ARPU
4.1.4 MTN villagePhone project
4.1.5 Services in refugee camps
4.2 Bharti Airtel Uganda (formerly Zain, Celtel)
4.2.1 Major equity transactions
4.2.2 Network infrastructure
4.2.3 Services
4.2.4 ARPU
4.3 Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL)
4.4 Warid Telecom
4.5 Orange Uganda (HiTS Telecom)
4.6 i-Tel
5. Tariffs and price war
5.1 Per-second billing
5.2 Free calls
5.3 Flat rates
5.4 MTN Zone
5.5 Free international roaming
6. Mobile traffic
7. Mobile data services
7.1 SMS
7.2 MMS
7.3 WAP, GPRS and EDGE
7.4 BlackBerry
8. 3G and 4G mobile broadband
8.1 Mobile broadband statistics
8.2 3G, HSPA
8.3 LTE (4G)
9. Mobile money transfer, m-banking
9.1 Traditional bank charges and international remittances
9.2 Regulation
9.3 MTN Mobile Money
9.4 Airtel Money (ZAP)
9.5 M-Sente (UTL)
9.6 Other services
10. Mobile TV
11. Forecasts
11.1 Forecasts – mobile market 2014; 2017
11.2 Notes on scenario forecasts
12. Related reports
List of Tables, Charts and Exhibits
Table 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Uganda – 1996 - 2012
Table 2 – MTN Uganda subscribers – 2000 - 2012
Table 3 – MTN Uganda ARPU – 2002 - 2012
Table 4 – Zain Uganda subscribers – 2002 - 2009
Table 5 – Zain Uganda ARPU – 2006 - 2009
Table 6 – Orange Uganda mobile subscribers – 2009 – 2012
Table 7 – Warid Telecom (Uganda) GPRS/EDGE pricing – 2012
Table 8 – Uganda Telecom GPRS/EDGE pricing – 2012
Table 9 – MTN Uganda Blackberry pricing – 2012
Table 10 – Active mobile broadband penetration in Uganda – 2009 - 2011
Table 11 – Uganda Telecom 3G mobile broadband pricing – 2012
Table 12 – Orange Uganda 3G/HSDPA mobile broadband pricing – 2012
Table 13 – MTN Uganda 3G/HSDPA mobile broadband pricing – 2012
Table 14 – Airtel Uganda HSPA+ pricing – 2012
Table 15 – Warid Telecom (Uganda) unlimited HSPA+ pricing – 2012
Table 16 – Forecast mobile subscribers in Uganda – 2014; 2017
Chart 1 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Uganda – 2002 - 2012
Chart 2 – Telecommunications tax revenue in Uganda by tax type – 2008 - 2011
Chart 3 – Mobile tariffs in Uganda, on-net and off-net – 2009 - 2011
Chart 4 – Mobile traffic in Uganda by traffic type – 2008 - 2011
Chart 5 – Mobile vs. fixed internet subscriptions in Uganda – 2007 - 2011
Exhibit 1 – Emergency rescue scheme for Lake Victoria

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