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Uganda Registers 1.8 Million New Mobile Subscribers; OTT Users Rise to 10.6M



A record 1.8 million new mobile subscribers joined the network between January and March 2020, the latest communications sector market performance report indicates.

Mobile subscriptions stood at 28.4 million at the end of March 2020, up from 26.7 million three months earlier, representing a 7% quarter-on-quarter growth.

With that, according to the quarterly report released by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), the national tele-density now stands at 67%, having grown from 66% at the end of December 2019.

These indicators, the report states, could in part be attributed to the onset of COVID-19, which made it imperative to work from home, as well as many Ugandans returning home from abroad.

As mobile subscriptions grew exponentially during the period under review, so did internet subscriptions, which rose from 16.9 million to 18.8 million during the same period.

This leap was in line with the yearly trajectory, which saw total internet subscriptions grow by 31% over 12 months (March 2019 – March 2020).

Mobile devices continued to stand out as the internet access medium of choice, accounting for more than 95% of new growth during the quarter.

At the end of the review period, mobile internet subscriptions accounted for 99.6% of all internet subscriptions.

“The new growth in internet subscriptions and internet-enabled hardware on the market translates into an internet penetration of 45 internet connections per 100 Ugandans,” the report says.

Feature phones with basic internet access and smartphones remain the driver of the new mobile internet subscriptions, having grown from 23.8 million devices in December 2019 to 24.4 million in March 2020.

On mobile financial services, registered mobile money accounts grew by almost 700,000 users during the quarter, from 24.7 million registered accounts in December 2019 to 25.4 million in March 2020.

Of these, 21 million accounts undertook at least one billable mobile money transaction in the 90 days preceding March 31, 2020. As it is, for every two Ugandans, at least one has an active mobile wallet.

“While registered accounts grew at only 0.9% during the quarter, the growth in active mobile money accounts averaged 4% during the same period,” the report states, pointing out that seventy-five (75%) of the new transactions were on previously dormant accounts.


Turning to broadband traffic, the report points to significant growth in MBs used, from 42.3 billion MBs in the fourth quarter of 2019 (October – December 2019) to 49 billion MBs in March 2020.

“The market averaged 16.34 billion MBs downloaded per month during the quarter, with a traffic peak of 18.3 billion in March 2020,” the report says, adding that this translates into an average of 582.2 MBs per subscriber per month.

Highlighting growth in usage of Over The Top (OTT) services (such as Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter), the report reveals that at least 10.63 million users accessed OTT services at least once during the month of March 2020, compared to 10.16 million users during the month of December 2019. This represents a growth rate of 5%.

Regarding revenues, the telecommunications sector posted the highest quarterly revenues recorded, crossing the Shs1 trillion mark in total quarterly earnings for the first time.

At the end of the previous quarter (December 2019), the figure was Shs 937.4billion, representing a quarter-on-quarter growth of 12%.

The revenue lines under consideration include retail and wholesale revenues such as tower lease sales, international bandwidth, mobile financial services, as well as voice and data services. It is worth noting that the share of mobile data with respect to total sector revenues grew by a factor of almost 2%.

However, as total revenues in the telecommunication sector rose, so did the monthly cost of service, which jumped from Shs 230 billion to Shs 238 billion during the same period. The cost of service incorporates expenses on input/wholesale services, salaries, taxes and depreciation, among other key metrics.

As for the broadcasting sector, the report indicates that by the end of March 2020, 39 Free To Air (FTAs) TV channels were hosted on the Government-owned SIGNET platform.

Besides, there were seven (7) licensed pay-TV channels served by a combination of satellite, cable and digital terrestrial networks. Total active pay-TV subscribers were 1.58 million as of March 2020, having dropped from 1.69 million in the preceding quarter, a contraction of 6%.

The contraction is partly attributed to the suspension of major sports competitions such as the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League due to COVID-19 in March 2020.

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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