The most recent entrant into Uganda’s crowded wireless market, K2 Telecom, claims to have signed up 60,000 customers in its first week of operation, the Observer reports. K2 launched on 1 January, but is yet to fix interconnection agreements with the nation’s six other providers, restricting customers to on-net calls. K2 will focus on the youth market, according to CEO Saul Ssegawa Katumba, as ‘young people…form the biggest clientele of the telecom market.’ The cellco charges UGX100 (USD0.037) per minute for calls and UGX40 per SMS, but further details are sketchy: K2 has promised its customers the ‘fastest internet speeds in the country’ to capitalise on the popularity of social media platforms, but has not confirmed any further details regarding technology or pricing.
The ownership of K2 is also unknown and though local reports have suggested a link to the Buganda Kingdom – a semi-autonomous region in the south of the country – Katumba has denied any ties with Buganda. TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database notes that at the end of September 2012 there were an estimated 18.95 million subscribers in Uganda, translating to a population penetration of around 54%. The market is now home to seven cellcos – MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda, Uganda Telecom Ltd (UTL), Warid Telecom Uganda, Orange Uganda, i-Tel and K2 – though Smile Communications, a provider of WiMAX-based voice-over-internet-protocol (VoIP) is often added to this list. An eighth provider, Sure Telecom, is also due to launch within 1H 2013.