2014 Uganda - Telecoms, Mobile, Broadband and Forecasts

Report Cover Image

Last updated: 7 Jul 2014 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 71

Analyst: Peter Lange

Publication Overview

This annual report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Uganda’s telecommunications market. Subjects covered include:

  • One of the most competitive mobile markets in the region;
  • Key statistics;
  • Market and industry overviews;
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and regulatory issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Infrastructure development, including international and domestic fibre;
  • Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G, 4G;
  • Average Revenue per User (ARPU);
  • Infrastructure sharing, tower outsourcing;
  • Internet and broadband development and growth;
  • Broadband pricing – ADSL, WiMAX, WiFi, EV-DO, 3G, 4G (LTE), Metro Ethernet;
  • Convergence (voice/data, fixed/wireless/mobile);
  • Digital media;
  • Mobile money transfer and m-banking services.

Researcher:- Peter Lange
Current publication date:- July 2014 (13th Edition)

Executive Summary

Seventh network launches amidst consolidation in crowded mobile sector

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.

Fixed-line and DSL penetration is low but has seen a renaissance on the back of wireless local loop (WLL) rollouts, prepaid services and an increasing demand for broadband access. Fixed GSM and WiMAX in combination with VoIP now make up more than half of the fixed telephony market.

Being landlocked, the country depended entirely on satellites for its international connectivity until 2009 when several international submarine fibre optic cables landed on the African east coast. Uganda is now connected via a national fibre backbone extending to its borders with neighbouring coastal countries. By 2013, prices for international bandwidth had fallen to a fraction of their original cost, but retail pricing of broadband services is still relatively expensive, especially when considering purchasing power parity. However, wireless and mobile technologies such as WiMAX, EV-DO, HSPA and LTE are now putting the internet within reach of a much wider part of the population than traditional fixed-line DSL services have in the past. These improvements in infrastructure are revolutionising the market and enabling converged voice, data and digital media services.

At around 50%, total teledensity is still below the African average. A simplified and converged licensing regime has significantly reduced barriers to market entry and increased competition. With annual GDP growth forecast to remain stable at around 7% p.a., growth prospects for Uganda’s telecoms sector are excellent.

Market highlights:

  • Seventh network launches amidst consolidation in crowded mobile sector;
  • Opportunities for MVNOs and tower outsourcing companies;
  • Three 4G (LTE) networks launched;
  • Growth returns to the market after wave of SIM card deregistrations;
  • More than 95% of internet connections are mobile;
  • Internet subscriptions growing at more than 100% per year;
  • Most fixed lines are provided using wireless or mobile systems;
  • Fibre optic network rollouts continue;
  • New fibre links to international submarine cables.

Estimated market penetration rates in Uganda’s telecoms sector – end-2014


Penetration rate







(Source: BuddeComm based on various sources)

Companies covered in this report:

Uganda Telecom (UTL, LAP Green, Telecel, Orascom, Deutsche Telekom); MTN; Bharti Airtel (Zain, Celtel); Warid Telecom (Essar); Orange (HiTS Telecom); i-Tel; Simba Telecoms; Seacom; Infocom (Altech); Internet Solutions; UTL Online; Africa Online; Spacenet; The Broadband Company (TMP); Wateen Telecoms; Smile Telecom; Foris Telecom; Talk Telecom; Mo Telecom; Goal Technology Solutions (GTS); UMEME; WBS Television; NTV Uganda; MultiChoice; GOtv; Jump TV; Zuku TV (Wananchi); Standard Chartered Bank; Monitise; American Tower Corporation (ATC), Africell (Lintel).

Data in this report is the latest available at the time of preparation and may not be for the current year

Related Reports

Share this Report

TMT Intelligence

A platform to scale your intelligence tasks

Monitor critical insights with our AI-powered Market Intelligence Platform gathering and analyzing intelligence in real time. With AI trained to spot emerging trends and detect new strategic opportunities, our clients use TMT Intelligence to accelerate their growth.

If you want to know more about it, please see:

TMT Intelligence Platform

Research Methodology

BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.

For more details, please see:

Research Methodology

More than 4,000 customers from 140 countries utilise BuddeComm Research

Are you interested in BuddeComm's Custom Research Service?

News & Views

Have the latest telecommunications industry news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to BuddeComm's weekly newsletter.