Uganda - Telecoms Infrastructure, Operators, Regulations - Statistics and Analyses
Reforms within the telecom sector in Uganda have provided the country with one of the most competitive markets in the region. The entry of MTN Uganda as the second national operator to compete with Uganda Telecom in all telecom sectors revolutionised the availability and quality of services. The incumbent telco in recent years has fallen victim to corruption and mismanagement, with the result that it failed to provide the services which customers wanted, and was unable to compete effectively. The main shareholder LAP Green also consistently failed to make the necessary investments in networks and infrastructure. Uganda Telecom went into receivership in early 2017, and the government reasserted control of the company.
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 dented operator revenue. Fixed-line infrastructure remains poor, with low penetration, and in consequence fixed-line broadband penetration is also low. In consequence, consumers have flocked to mobile infrastructure to provide voice and broadband services.
With seven mobile networks, Uganda's mobile market remains overcrowded. There have been some market acquisitions over the last few years, including the sale of Orange Uganda to Africell Holding in mid-2014. 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 neighbouring countries. This has helped reduce the previously exorbitant cost of broadband and provided the necessary mobile backhaul to carry the growing traffic which has resulted from the widening reach of LTE networks.
National Broadband Infrastructure project leading to dramatic reduction in broadband access cost; government takes over ownership of bankrupt Uganda Telecom; new Ministry of ICT & National Guidance formed; utility UETCL contracts ZTE to extend its fibre transmission networks; telecoms regulator and Broadcasting Council merged into a single regulatory body; report update includes the regulator's market data to December 2016, operator data to Q2 2017, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned in this report:
Uganda Telecom (UT, LAP Green), MTN Uganda, UMEME, SEACOM, Infocom (Altech, Liquid Telecom), Internet Solutions.