This is a best prospect industry sector for this country. Includes a market overview and trade data.
Last Published: 3/30/2019

Overview

Uganda’s telecommunications infrastructure has developed through private partnerships in Uganda since 2015.  Google (through its C-Squared entity) has laid over 1,000 KM (621 miles) of fiber optics in the Kampala metro area since 2015[1].  Google offers wholesale last-mile Wi-Fi and fiber access to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and Mobile Network Operators (MNOs).  In addition, Facebook (through its partnership with Airtel Uganda) has laid over 800 KM of fiber optics throughout Uganda, primarily in the northern city of Gulu.  Both Google and Facebook do not provide Internet directly, rather they partner with local telecommunications firms to provide customer access.

The following mobile telephony companies (as of 2018) operate in Uganda:  MTN; Airtel; Uganda Telecom (UTL); Africell; Smile Telecom.  In addition, the following companies offer commercial and residential Internet (as of 2018):  Gilat; Sombha Solutions Store; Roke Telecom; Tangerine; Datanet; Liquid Telecom; iWay Africa; SimbaNet.  Mobile phone companies now provide coverage for nearly every region in Uganda through 2G / EDGE / GPRS.  In addition, 3G has rolled out to the majority of the country, including most rural areas with road systems, all second-tier cities and all national parks.  4G networks have rolled out in all major cities, as well as most national parks.  Reception can be erratic due to population density and/or geography in certain areas.

SIM Cards for U.S. visitors coming to Uganda with compatible triband phones cost less than $2 and available at authorized telecommunications offices.  Customers are required to register with a passport photo and a copy of their passport bio data page.  It is not legal to buy at street or other public resellers.  U.S.-origin mobile phones typically only work at 3G speeds due to frequency variance from the Uganda telecommunication network.

There are multiple wholesale Internet providers who supply through fiber optic cables into Uganda.  Over the past 24 months commercial Internet (25 Mbps+/mo) has dropped in price from $300/Mbps to $80/Mbps.  Personal plans are typically sold as “bundles” of megabytes or gigabytes and are based on consumption, not bandwidth.  As stated above, the recently enacted Excise Duty Amendment Bill introduces a one percent tax on all mobile money transactions, increases the excise tax on mobile money fees to 15 percent, and introduces a $0.05 daily tax on social media usage.
 

Telecommunication Stats20122013201420152016
Fixed Internet subscribers96,000101,000113,000130,000148,000
Mobile Internet subscribers2,690,0003,625,0005,695,0007,350,00013,000,000
Internet Penetration (%)8.220.729.539.751.9
 

Leading Sub-Sectors

Data Centers and Content Delivery Nodes (CDNs):  Growth in Uganda’s Internet availability is increasing demand for local data services, data security, and streamlined content delivery, including Tier-rated data centers (currently zero in Uganda), content partnerships, and data security expertise.
Complimentary Technologies:  Due to increased access in all regions throughout Uganda, complimentary technologies are beginning to show opportunity.  This includes the use of Internet of Things (IOT) devices and services and industrial Internet-connected devices.  A special focus on agricultural Internet-connected devices and services show extraordinary growth opportunities in Uganda due to national sector strategy.

Opportunities

Exporting telecommunication hardware offers the best prospects within the Telecommunication sector.  The following products are in high demand in Uganda: cellular and wireless telephone systems; data transmission equipment; fiber optic equipment; trunked mobile phone systems; switches and routers; wireless access equipment; voice over Internet telephony; VSAT; computers and peripherals.

Web Resources

MTN
Airtel
Computer Frontiers International
UTL
Infocom
Bitwork Technologies Ltd.
RCS Radio Communication
Sombha Solutions Store
Uganda Communications Commission
Uganda Broadcasting Corporation
 

 

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Uganda Information and Communication Technology Trade Development and Promotion