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

Publication Overview

This report provides a comprehensive overview of trends and developments in Uganda’s telecommunications market. The report analyses the mobile, internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media sectors. Subjects include:

  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments;
  • Facts, figures and statistics;
  • Industry and regulatory issues;
  • Infrastructure developments;
  • Major players, revenue, subscribers, ARPU, MoU;
  • Internet, VoIP, videostreaming;
  • Mobile voice and data markets;
  • Broadband (FttP, DSL, cable, wireless);
  • Convergence and Digital Media;
  • Mobile subscriber forecasts;
  • Mobile market forecasts for selective years to 2021.
  • Government policies affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Market liberalisation and industry issues;
  • Telecoms operators – privatisation, IPOs, acquisitions, new licences;
  • Mobile technologies (GSM; 3G, HSPA, LTE).

Researcher:- Henry Lancaster
Current publication date:- October 2016 (15th Edition)

Executive Summary

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).

Table of Contents

  • 1. Key statistics
  • 2. Telecommunications market
    • 2.1 Recent developments
    • 2.2 Historical overview
  • 3. Regulatory Environment
    • 3.1 Historical overview
    • 3.2 Regulatory authorities
      • 3.2.1 Uganda Communications Commission
      • 3.2.2 National Information Technology Authority
    • 3.3 Telecommunications Policy 1996
    • 3.4 Uganda Communications Act 1997
    • 3.5 Uganda Communications Act 2013
    • 3.6 Telecom sector liberalisation
      • 3.6.1 Licensing prior to 2007
      • 3.6.2 New licensing regime
      • 3.6.3 Additional mobile networks
    • 3.7 Interconnect
    • 3.8 Number Portability (NP)
    • 3.9 Universal Service Fund (USF)
      • 3.9.1 RCDF projects
      • 3.9.2 Registration of subscriber data
    • 3.10 Cyber crime legislation
    • 3.11 Consumer protection
    • 3.12 Taxes
  • 4. Fixed network operators
    • 4.1 Uganda Telecom (UT)
      • 4.1.1 Privatisation
      • 4.1.2 Network infrastructure
      • 4.1.3 Wireless Local Loop (WLL)
    • 4.2 MTN Uganda
      • 4.2.1 Network infrastructure and services
      • 4.2.2 Wireless local loop (WLL)
  • 5. Telecommunications Infrastructure
    • 5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
    • 5.2 National fibre backbone infrastructure
      • 5.2.1 MTN and UTL
      • 5.2.2 National Backbone Infrastructure (NBI)
      • 5.2.3 Next Generation Networks (NGN)
      • 5.2.4 UMEME
      • 5.2.5 Google
      • 5.2.6 UETCL
    • 5.3 International infrastructure
      • 5.3.1 Submarine fibre
      • 5.3.2 International bandwidth
      • 5.3.3 Terrestrial fibre
      • 5.3.4 Satellite, VSAT
    • 5.4 Smart infrastructure
      • 5.4.1 Smart grids
  • 6. Broadband Market
    • 6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
      • 6.1.1 Market analysis
      • 6.1.2 Broadband statistics
      • 6.1.3 Public Internet access locations
      • 6.1.4 Uganda Internet Exchange Point (UiXP)
    • 6.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
    • 6.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) networks
    • 6.4 Other fixed broadband services
      • 6.4.1 Fixed wireless
  • 7. Digital Media
    • 7.1 Market overview
    • 7.2 Videostreaming
    • 7.3 Digital Terrestrial TV (DTT)
    • 7.4 Communications: VoIP
  • 8. Digital economy
    • 8.1 E-commerce
    • 8.2 E-banking
    • 8.3 E-government
    • 8.4 E-health
    • 8.5 E-learning
  • 9. Mobile Communications
    • 9.1 Market analysis
    • 9.2 Mobile statistics
      • 9.2.1 Mobile voice
      • 9.2.2 Mobile data
      • 9.2.3 Mobile broadband
      • 9.2.4 Forecasts – mobile subscribers - 2016; 2018; 2021
    • 9.3 Regulatory issues
      • 9.3.1 Licensing
      • 9.3.2 Taxes
      • 9.3.3 One Network Area
      • 9.3.4 Infrastructure sharing
      • 9.3.5 SIM card registration
      • 9.3.6 Quality of service (QoS)
    • 9.4 Mobile infrastructure
      • 9.4.1 Digital networks
      • 9.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
    • 9.5 Major mobile operators
      • 9.5.1 MTN Uganda
      • 9.5.2 Bharti Airtel Uganda (formerly Zain, Celtel)
      • 9.5.3 Uganda Telecom (UTL)
      • 9.5.4 Africell (Orange Uganda)
      • 9.5.5 i-Tel
      • 9.5.6 Smile Communications
      • 9.5.7 Smart Telecom, Sure Telecom
      • 9.5.8 Vodafone Uganda
    • 9.6 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs)
      • 9.6.1 K2 Telecom
    • 9.7 Mobile content and applications
      • 9.7.1 m-banking/money
      • 9.7.2 m-TV
      • 9.7.3 m-Health
      • Table 1 – Country statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 2 – Fixed-line network statistics – 2015 (e)
      • Table 3 – Internet provider statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 4 – Internet statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 5 – Broadband statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 6 – Mobile statistics – 2016 (e)
      • Table 7 – National telecommunications authority
      • Table 8 – Telecom market revenue in Uganda – 2008- 2012
      • Table 9 – Telecom service tax revenue in Uganda – 2009- 2016
      • Table 10 – Historic - Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Uganda – 1995 - 2009
      • Table 11 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity in Uganda – 2010- 2017
      • Table 12 – Historic - Uganda's international internet bandwidth – 1999 - 2009
      • Table 13 – Uganda's international internet bandwidth – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 14 – Uganda's internet bandwidth per population – 2012 - 2016
      • Table 15 – Historic - Internet users and penetration rate in Uganda – 1995 - 2009
      • Table 16 – Internet users and penetration rate in Uganda – 2010 - 2016
      • Table 17 – Fixed vs. mobile internet subscriptions in Uganda – 2007 - 2016
      • Table 18 – Historic - Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Uganda – 1996 - 2009
      • Table 19 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Uganda – 2010 - 2017
      • Table 20 – Mobile traffic in Uganda by traffic type – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 21 – SMS messages sent – 2014 - 2016
      • Table 22 – Mobile internet subscribers and penetration in Uganda – 2009 - 2017
      • Table 23 – Forecast mobile subscribers in Uganda – 2016; 2018; 2021
      • Table 24 – Telecommunications tax revenue in Uganda by tax type – 2008 - 2016
      • Table 25 – MTN Uganda subscribers – 2000 - 2016
      • Table 26 – MTN Uganda financial data – 2013 – 2016
      • Table 27 – MTN Uganda ARPU – 2002 - 2016
      • Table 28 – Bharti Uganda subscribers – 2002 - 2015
      • Table 29 – Telecel mobile subscribers – 2013 - 2015
      • Table 30 – Orange Uganda mobile subscribers – 2009 – 2014
      • Table 31 – Mobile money agents and subscribers – 2013 – 2016
      • Table 32 – Mobile money transactions – 2009 – 2016
      • Chart 1 – Fixed lines in service and teledensity – 2005 - 2017
      • Chart 2 – Internet users and penetration rate in Uganda – 2005 - 2016
      • Chart 3 – Mobile subscribers and penetration rate in Uganda – 2002 - 2017
      • Chart 4 – Mobile traffic in Uganda by traffic type – 2008 - 2016
      • Chart 5 – Telecommunications tax revenue in Uganda by tax type – 2008 - 2015
      • Exhibit 1 – International gateway licences fees

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