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Gov’t Agrees To Renew MTN License With ‘New Stringent Terms’

The Government of Uganda has revealed that it will renew MTN license but with new stringent terms.

The revelation was made by ICT Minister, Frank Tumwebaze Tuesday morning at Uganda Media Centre while addressing members of the press about yesterday’s Cabinet Resolutions.

“The Minister of ICT was given a go ahead to give a NO objection to UCC (Uganda Communications Commission to renew the license (of MTN Uganda) with new stringent terms in pursuit of the broadband policy goals,” Tumwebaze said. MTN’s current license expires in October.

The Minister added that Cabinet approved the National Broadband Policy for Uganda “to avert duplication and wastage of resources in the provision of broadband among the key stakeholders in the ICT sector”

“The policy aims to enable customers to have seamless access and coverage for the customers irrespective of their network,” he said.

Currently the customers cannot switch from one service provider to another without changing the telephone numbers.

“This policy aims to provide for a structured renewal framework for the licenses taking into consideration the roll out obligations, quality of service and technological developments,” he said, adding that the policy also aims to empower the customers to choose their service provider without the challenge of changing telephone numbers.

He noted that the principle for all operators will be ‘use it or lose it’ and no operator whenever selling its stake through ‘mergers and acquisitions should have a claim on spectrum.

He said the above will now be part of the licensing conditions for Telecoms.

“Every operator that seeks a national operator license must be able to cover the entire geographical place of Uganda,” he said.

It is worth noting that MTN Group Ltd. is facing pressure to list its unit in Uganda as Africa’s largest mobile-phone company seeks to renew a license in the country.

While selling shares on the local bourse isn’t a pre-condition for the granting of a new 10-year contract, the East African nation wants “Ugandans to be part of the company,” according to Godfrey Mutabazi, the executive director of Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the country’s telecommunications regulator.

A listing of the Uganda business would follow similar moves by MTN in Ghana and Nigeria — both agreed to by the Johannesburg-based company as part of a deal with regulators.


Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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