The battle for who will control Uganda’s data market is on, with telecom giants MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda unleashing one of the best internet offers on the Ugandan market in recent weeks.
Airtel that is under the stewardship of VG Somasekhar as Managing Director now offers 300 MBs at Shs2, 000. This data lasts for 24 hours.
Additionally, Airtel offers 1GB at Shs5, 000 and the data is valid for three days.
As Airtel was unveiling the above offers, Wim Vanhelleputte, the MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer was keenly watching and after a few days, the telecom giant announced that every Wednesday, MTN subscribers will be able to have 1GB at only Shs3, 000.
The data once activated is valid for 24 hours unlike Airtel’s offer that is valid for three days.
Airtel has already positioned itself as the ‘Smartphone’ network and upgraded to 4GLTE technology.
In terms of daily internet offers, an MTN customer will get 125 MBs at Shs2000, while the same amount will see an Airtel customer get 300 MBs. Additionally, Shs5000 will get an MTN customer 325 MBs.
Importantly, Africell was the first telecom firm to up the internet game. It introduced Triple Data offer where a customer gets three times of the data they buy everyday starting from 200MBs up to 1GB.
Uganda has over 13 million internet users, but many find themselves inactive due to high internet prices. However, with increased competition, internet prices are slowly coming down.
Unlike before, MTN and Airtel are offering social (Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram) bundles where by a customer gets 40MBs at Shs250 and 100MBs at Shs500.
Under its ‘pakalast’ package, Airtel gives its customers 30 minutes (voice), 30MBs, 30 SMS at Shs900 while Shs600 gets a customer 17 minutes, 21 MBs and 10 SMS.
With Shs500, a customer gets 11mins, 11MBs and 9 SMS.
Similarly, under MTN’s ‘my paka paka’ offer, subscribers are able to get 25mins and 25MBs at Shs750, while Shs550 will see one get 14mins and 14MBs.
Recently, Airtel upgraded to 4GLTE technology and this comes with a significant countrywide investment made by the telecom giant in setting up 404 LTE sites in Kampala and 126 sites upcountry. Addressing the media during the launch of 4GLTE technology, Airtel boss Somasekhar stated that with the 4GLTE technology, customers will have an overall improved internet experience at the most affordable rates.
It is important to note that the return of Somasekhar to Airtel Uganda as Managing Director is good for the telecom industry.
Somasekhar is credited for transforming Airtel Uganda. He steered Airtel Uganda from December 2010 to February 2014, during which period he oversaw the Airtel-Warid merger in April 2013-at US$100m.
Airtel entered the Ugandan market in 2009 after buying Zain Africa operations, resulting into a rebrand in 2010 while Warid launched its operations in Uganda in 2008.
This merger was an industry game-changer due to the fact that Airtel became MTN’s rival on a number of fronts.
Before he was recalled to Airtel Africa head offices as Director – Special Projects in 2014, Somasekhar had made it clear that he wanted to make Airtel the leading telecom firm in Uganda.
Has he returned to complete the ‘unfinished’ business?
The fact is; his return will be an industry game-changer as already being witnessed.