The introduction of mobile telephony has revolutionised Uganda’s telecommunications industry, but with seven networks the market is overcrowded, which has led to a price war and consolidation among the operators. However, not long after the No. 2 in the market (Bharti Airtel) took over the No.4 (Warid Telecom), a new operator (Smart Telecom) launched in March 2014. Two months later, the new No. 4 (Orange) decided to exit the market and sold to Lebanon-based Africell.
The price war has accelerated subscriber growth but also reduced the average revenue per user (ARPU) and quality of service (QoS). The network operators started raising their tariffs again and are trying to find ways of generating additional revenue streams. 3G and 4G mobile 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.
Smile Communications contracts Ericsson for managed services; Vodafone Uganda expands LTE as part of national coverage program; Ericsson deploys its Converged Wallet platform for MTN Uganda; seventh network launches amidst consolidation in the crowded mobile sector; opportunities grow for MVNOs and tower outsourcing companies; Africell completes acquisition of Orange Uganda; LTE infrastructure expanding; mobile accounting for more than 95% of internet connections; growth returns to the market after wave of SIM card de-registrations; continuing strong growth in the number of mobile money transactions; regulator reports on QoS assessments; report update includes operator data to Q2 2015, regulator’s market data to December 2014, recent market developments.
Companies mentioned 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), Eaton Towers; Smile Telecom; Smart Telecom; Sure Telecom; K2 Telecom; Africell (Lintel).