MTN Uganda announces UGX 42.5 billion contribution to UCC Universal Service and Access Fund

MTN Uganda has announced a substantial contribution of Sh42.5 billion to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) Universal Service and Access Fund, aimed at developing telecommunication services in underserved areas. This is a significant increase from last year’s contribution of Sh36 billion.

The announcement was made during a press conference held at UCC, highlighting MTN Uganda’s continued commitment to driving substantial change and closing the digital divide in the country. This contribution underlines MTN Uganda’s dedication to not only meeting but also exceeding its licensing obligations.

“At MTN we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern, connected world. Therefore, our contribution to the Universal Service and Access Fund is not only an obligation, but is deeply aligned with the core values ​​of our business,” said Sylvia Mulinge, CEO of MTN.

“Connectivity is the cornerstone of our economy, vital to modernizing education, revolutionizing healthcare and enabling financial inclusion through digital technologies.”

Mulinge emphasized that the new support for UCC aligns with MTN’s 2025 strategy of leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

This development comes as recent UCC statistics illustrate the critical need to expand connectivity efforts. In the second quarter of 2023, the country saw an influx of 600,000 new mobile phone subscriptions, bringing the total to 34.9 million. This substantial growth in mobile services demonstrates a strong national telephone penetration rate of 77 lines per 100 Ugandans.

Furthermore, the period witnessed a significant 6% increase in active mobile Internet users, reaching a total of 12.5 million. This increase is largely due to the widespread adoption of smartphones, which have become the primary Internet access point for most Ugandans.

Thembo Nyombi, Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission, highlighted the impact of the recent funding in expanding telecommunications services to underserved regions.

“Currently, 85% of public secondary schools have computer laboratories connected to the Internet thanks to this fund,” he stated. “However, while secondary schools are covered, there is a significant gap in elementary schools, where most students reach seventh grade without ever seeing or using a computer.”

Nyombi also revealed that the communications regulatory agency has used the Universal Service and Access Fund to establish 65 antennas in the last two years in areas considered commercially unviable for telecommunications companies, promoting fair and equal access to digital services.

However, MTN Uganda is not only focused on infrastructure development; is also deeply committed to cultivating digital skills in the next generation. The telco is accelerating smartphone adoption through increased acceptance of its flagship product M-Kabode Supa and other smartphone sales partnerships, following improvements in pricing and value propositions to improve penetration.

Additionally, MTN Uganda has established over 42 ICT labs in various educational institutions across the country and continues to engage communities directly through initiatives such as MTN Internet Bus, which provides essential ICT training.

“Today’s significant financial contribution to the Universal Service and Access Fund is a clear indicator of our determination,” Mulinge added. “We are setting new standards for what can be achieved in digital inclusion and are dedicated to ensuring that no Ugandan is left behind.”

MTN Uganda calls on all stakeholders to join us in this transformative journey towards a more connected and digitally empowered Uganda. Through collaboration, innovation and effective implementation, the combined efforts will significantly shape the country’s digital landscape.

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