UCC studying use of GSM spectrum; MTN to end 08 with 3.5 million subs

30 Sep 2008

The Ugandan telecoms regulator has initiated a study to determine how efficiently wireless spectrum is being utilised by the country’s four GSM network operators, writes allafrica.com. ‘If we discover there is extra space, then we will be in a position to say if the sector can accommodate more players,’ said Patrick Masambu, executive director of the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). ‘But, as I speak now, we have run out of spectrum.’ The admission that there is no spare capacity on its 900MHz and 1800MHz frequency bands leaves more than half a dozen public service provider (PSP) and public infrastructure provider (PIP) licensees – including companies such as Africa Online, Afsat Communications, Anupam Global Soft, Datanet, Infocom, I-Tel and TMP Uganda – without the spectrum to launch commercial wireless operations.

In a separate but related announcement, the country’s largest cellco by subscribers MTN Uganda has revealed that it has invested USD150 million this year on network expansion and expects to add a million new subscribers by the end of the year. CEO Noel Meier told Reuters he expects a total subscriber base of 3.5 million by the end of 2008. He said coverage expansion to rural areas and the introduction of discounted calling would drive the increase.

Uganda, MTN Uganda