Difference of opinion over third wireline operator

12 Mar 2004

With Uganda’s fixed line duopoly coming to an end next July, the nation’s current operators are trying to persuade the regulator that the market is not yet ready for a third player. MTN Uganda claims that the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) should not be focusing on introducing new players, but on ‘increasing accessibility for Ugandans’. Its rival Uganda Telecom, meanwhile, has argued that the high costs involved in rolling out another network do not make economic sense, and that the money could be better used to increase the range of services on offer. The regulator argues that even with a third operator entering the sector there is significant demand to keep Uganda’s market growing ‘for years to come’; there are around 65,000 fixed lines in Uganda, up from 56,000 in 1996, a teledensity of just 0.28%.