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

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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.

Broadband

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.



Source – chimpreports.com

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Another blow as Judge throws out Kiggundu’s lawyer Muwema

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When court sat on Friday to hear the Kiggundu’s application to stop independent audit, he did not have a written application, and Justice Henry Adonyo instead ordered the plaintiff’s lawyer Fred Muwema to go make a written application seeking court to dismiss the audit and return to court on September 30 for a hearing of the application. But this adds more pressure on Kiggundu who is choking with the loans.

On 31 August, the judge ordered the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Uganda (ICPAU) to carry out and independent audit into the accounts of the businessman and financial statements exchanged between the two parties, and present a report to court.

When asked by journalists why he has filed for an application seeking dismissal of the audit, Fred Muwema had this to say. “We are saying that let the validity and legality of those credit facilities (loans) be decided first before you can audit” He said.

The ruling on the application of the main suit to determine whether the businessman owes loan arrears to the bank is set for 5th October 2020, after which a date for hearing of the case will be set.

Background

Hamis Kiggundu through his companies Ham enterprises and Kiggs International (U) ltd sued DTB branches in Kenya and Uganda for deducting money from his accounts something which the bank contends and said they only acted as per the loan agreement of deducting 30% from Kiggundu’s accounts to recover the credit facilities rendered to him between February 2011 and September 2016

But Court documents filed by the bank in their defense shows that Kiggundu, between February 2011 and September 2016, was granted various credit facilities by the said DTB Banks.

First, via Ham Enterprises Limited, Kiggundu obtained a loan of $6,663,453 and another Sh2.5bn from the DTB (U) to finance his projects in the real estate business.

Later, according to New Vision, he got a facility worth $4.5m through Kiggs International (U) Limited from DTB (K) and mortgaged his properties, which include Plot 328 located at Kawuku on Block 248 Kyadondo, three plots that include 36, 37 and 38 on Folio 1533 Victoria Crescent II situated in Kyadondo and land on Makerere Hill Road on LRV 3716 Folio 10 Plot 923 Block 9.

Documents show that as of January 21, 2020, Kiggundu was in default on payment obligations of $6.298m on the loan facility of $6.663m, as well as sh2.885b on the demand overdraft facility of sh1.5b and the temporary demand overdraft facility of sh1b.

The banks say that Kiggundu was in default on the payment of another $3.662m out of a total loan facility of $4m and another $458,604 on a loan facility of $500,000, as of January 21, 2020.

The DTB consequently served him with a demand notice to either pay up or lose the assets that he submitted as collateral security. The bank threatened to attach a plot on Makerere Hill Road and other prime commercial properties.

Analysts says that Kiggundu’s lawyer is playing delaying tactics aimed at stopping the independent audit as ordered by the court earlier. Kiggundu had wanted court to believe his own audit of loan transactions, but that would amount to injustice to the banks that gave him money-DTB Uganda and DTB Kenya.

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Minister Rukutana charged with attempted murder, remanded

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The state minister for Labour, Gender and Economic Development Mwesigwa Rukutana has been remanded to Kyamugorani prison in Mbarara district.

Rukutana appeared before Ntungamo Grade One magistrate Nazifah Namayanja this afternoon from where he was charged with seven offences related to attempted murder, assault, malicious damage, and threatening violence.

Rukutana was captured in a video that went viral on social media showing him grabbing a gun from one of his bodyguards and started shooting at a vehicle belonging to supporters of his political rival Naome Kabasharira. At the time of the incident, Rukutana had just lost the Rushenyi country NRM flag to Kabasharira.

The prosecution alleges that on September 5, 2020, at Kagugu village in Ntungamo district, Rukutana and others still at large assaulted Julius Niwamanya and threatened to kill or injure him together with three others. The others are Stuart Kamukama, Dan Rwibirungi, and Moses Kamukama. 

It is also alleged that Rukutana also willfully and unlawfully damaged a motor vehicle registration number UAR 840X Toyota Rav 4 type which belongs to Moses Muhumuza.

According to the Judiciary public relations officer, Jameson Karemani, Rukutana has not taken a plea of these charges against him since they can only be tried by the chief magistrate who was not in court today.

As a result, the magistrate decided to send him to Kyamugorani, awaiting his return to court on Tuesday.      





Source – observer.ug

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Lira district headquarters closed over COVID-19

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Lira district headquarters have been closed after one staff tested positive for COVID-19 last week. 

On Monday morning, district staff were blocked at the gate with only the deputy chief administrative officer, his secretary and the receptionist allowed access to their offices. 

Paul Samuel Mbiiwa, the deputy chief administrative officer says that only heads of department will be allowed at the headquarters while the rest will work from home. He adds that the restriction will help to curb the spread of the virus.

“You see corona is not a joke. We have taken a step at fighting it and that is why you are seeing the staff outside. Even in my office here I do not want people to come if there is anything we can discuss on the phone.”

Francis Okello Olwa, a senior community development officer who doubles as the district spokesperson says that the entire district offices will be fumigated and closed for two days.

Health authorities in the district are planning to take samples from all the staff because they could have interacted with the one who tested positive. Currently, there are 19 COVID-19 patients under treatment at Lira regional referral hospital.     

On Sunday four health workers at the hospital tested positive for COVID-19. Dr Patrick Odongo, a senior medical officer at the hospital also succumbed to the virus.  





Source – observer.ug

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