Uganda mobile subscribers reach 14 million

Uganda has reached 14 million mobile phone users

The number of Ugandan mobile phone subscribers has crossed the 14 million mark, the outgoing Information and Communications Technology Minister Aggrey Awori confirmed.

He said that currently some 42% of Ugandans now own a mobile phone, which shows that Uganda is making major strides toward making mobile phones affordable and accessible for the wider population.

“The wrangles affecting telecom operators have been largely brought about by the interconnection rates. We hope a new law will embrace the interconnection regulations,” said Awori.

It comes as telecom operators MTN and Uganda Telecom continue to battle over a Ush20b (US$8m) dispute that was brought about after a memorandum of understanding in reducing the interconnection fees.

Awori, who was handing over the ICT ministry to Ruhakana Rugunda, urged the ministry to further pursue the completion of the National Data Transmission Backbone Infrastructure (NBI) cable, which he said is in its second phase.

The NBI broadly consists of 1,536 kilometers of optical fiber cable across the country. It connects Kampala to the Uganda-Kenya border, Uganda-Rwanda border and Uganda-Sudan border.

“Mr. Minister I urge you to ensure the completion of all phases of the NBI cable because it’s this cable that will connect Uganda to the rest of the world,” stressed Awori at the press conference.

The outgoing minister, who said he will join the broadcasting and television industry, added that during his tenure, the ministry rolled out the National Business Process Outsourcing strategy and model that has ensured creation of jobs for more than 500 youths.

By Andrew Matapare