Ugandan cellco Airtel says it has no money to meet licence payments and has requested the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) for more time to pay. A report from Eagle Online says that Airtel is blaming the COVID-19 pandemic for its cash-flow problems. A UCC source is quoted as saying: ‘They wrote to us indicating that since the outbreak of Coronavirus, they haven’t made inroads as far as raising funds as their businesses were affected too, but they have promised to fulfil their payments soon.’
The regulator recently revised its licence structure and Airtel is now classed as a National Telecom Operator (NTO). It had previously operated under much cheaper Public Service Provider (PSP) and Public Infrastructure Provider (PIP) concessions. Rival firm MTN was required to pay USD100 million to renew its NTO concession for twelve years earlier this year.