5G Spectrum Secured and Activated
The two largest telecommunication operators in Uganda, MTN and Airtel, have recently activated their 5G services, setting new milestones in the country's digital infrastructure development. Both companies successfully obtained the 5G spectrum in a government auction and have since received clearance from the Uganda Communication Commission to leverage these frequencies.
MTN's Strategic 5G Rollout Plan
MTN, the market leader, commenced its 5G services rollout last Friday, stating its aim to establish full 5G coverage in the nation's capital, Kampala, by the end of 2024. The company also revealed plans to upgrade all of its base station sites in major cities to 5G within the next two years. The 5G network will initially be available in Lugogo and Bugolobi areas of the city, with more sites to be included in the near future.
Airtel's Swift Response to 5G Deployment
Airtel, not far behind, is set to launch its 5G services in Kampala in August. The company surprised its consumers by prematurely activating its 5G network at Bulange, Mengo. Airtel intends to test its 5G network at 11 sites in Kampala and roll out the service across 50 locations this week, primarily in the capital.
Investment in the Face of Financial Loss
Despite reporting a net loss of $151 million in its first quarter due to significant currency devaluation in Nigeria, Airtel Africa remains committed to investing in growth. The company's customer base across its 14 sub-Saharan markets expanded by 8.8% to 143.1 million, primarily driven by the growing penetration of mobile data and mobile money services. The number of data customers grew by 22% to 56.8 million, while mobile money customers saw a 24.3% increase to 34.3 million.
5G: A Pivotal Role in Economic Growth
Both MTN and Airtel leaders have emphasized the significant role 5G is set to play in driving economic growth. The launch of 5G in Uganda marks a significant step in the country's technological advancement. This development should enhance network connectivity and facilitate the provision of cutting-edge digital services, thereby driving economic growth.
The 5G race between MTN and Airtel in Uganda represents an exciting phase in the country's digital evolution. Despite economic challenges, both telecommunication giants are committed to investing in the future, highlighting the strategic importance of 5G in driving economic growth and technological advancement. As the 5G network continues to expand across Uganda, it is anticipated that digital services will become more robust and accessible, benefiting both businesses and consumers across the nation.