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Growth of Uganda's telecoms - modest but fast says regulator

By , ITWeb’s Zambian correspondent.
Uganda , 27 Sep 2021

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) says the country’s telecommunications industry has registered modest growth across all major indicators.

According to the latest market performance report, fixed and mobile telephone subscriptions grew by 600, 000 from 28.3 million to 28.9 million, a growth rate of 2%, while internet subscriptions grew by 352, 000 from 21.5 million to 21.9 million, also equivalent to 2% growth.

The UCC report said the growth in telephone subscriptions has pushed Uganda’s teledensity to 68%, up from 67% in March 2021.

This growth translates into a national telephone penetration of almost 7 lines for every 10 Ugandans, despite the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) data showing that more than 60% of the population is less than 18 years old.

Market research by the UCC stated that almost 29 million active subscriptions translates into a penetration of almost 2 lines for each of the 16.8 million adults in Uganda (above 18 years).

As for broadband connectivity, the report said a year-on-year comparison shows that three million new broadband subscriptions were recorded between June 2020 and June 2021, a 16% year-on-year growth.

It said the nearly 22 million broadband subscriptions translate into a broadband penetration of 1 internet connection for every 2 people adding that by extension, that is equivalent to an active connection for every 1 of the 17 million adults aged above 18 years in Uganda.

“It should be noted however, that the new-work-from home and online study arrangements especially in the urban centres, may mean that a few homes account for multiple data SIMs skewing the general internet penetration landscape,” the report said.

According to the report, the growth in internet penetration mirrors related growth in total megabyte (Mbs) downloaded which jumped by 19% - from 58.3 million at the end of March to 69.3 million at the end of June 2021.

It added that 900, 000 new smartphone gadgets connected to the network were added to the public communication networks, a 3% growth that brought the total number of devices on the networks to 32 million.

The report added that more than 30% of the new terminals were internet-enabled gadgets while 70% were basic and feature phones.

According to the report, by the end of June 2021, the total number of connected smartphones or internet-enabled gadgets stood at 9.7 million while basic phones and feature phones were 22.4 million.

Commenting on the report, Isaac Mwanza, a telecommunications analyst at Computer Association of Zambia said, “Although the growth of 2% of both mobile phone and internet subscriptions is modest, Uganda’s telecom is growing faster compared to other African markets due to massive investments and competition by operators.”

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