Ugandan mobile operator Uganda Telecom (UTL), which markets its service under the brand name Mango, says it has signed up 4,000 people to its network during its re-launch in the north of the country. The company’s regional marketing manager James Mutebi said the new additions had come in just two weeks and the company was enticing users by offering prizes such as bicycles, radios, stoves, mattresses and school bags.
UTL launched its GSM service in 2001, with extensive coverage of the southern half of the country. It has since invested significantly in its cellular infrastructure, having contracted Alcatel to roll out its network. In July 2003 alone it rolled out services to 44 regions in a four-week period of intense activity; areas covered include Gulu, Arua, Bushenyi, Pallisa, Kumi, Luweero, Ishaka and Lira. In 2005 UTL has focused on low-cost services aimed at rural communities by investing in the development of its public GSM payphone service ‘SIMU 4 U’, which it launched in early April. The company claims that the rollout of SIMU 4 U has cost it a total of UGS5.6 billion (USD3.11 million); the investment follows significant expenditure on its CDMA-based fixed/wireless payphone network ‘TelesaverPlus’, similarly aimed at low-income users in remote regions.
Uganda Telecommunications Ltd is 49%-owned by the state and 51% by the Ucom consortium, itself consisting of Telecel International Ltd (20%), The Gloria Trust (60%) and Deutsche Telepost Consulting (Detecon, 20%).