Internet subscribers rise to 16.9 million - UCC report

A subscriber browses Internet using a smartphone. Mobile data subscriptions have been growing. PHOTO BY EDGAR R. BATTE

Mobile data subscribers have driven growth in Uganda’s internet subscribers to 16.9 million by December 2019, up from 15.4 million in October 2019.

The communications regulator, Uganda Communication Commission’s (UCC) annual performance report shows an impressive growth in mobile money subscription and internet subscription for the fourth quarter ended in December 2019.

“The growth in internet subscriptions may be due to increasing mobile data subscriptions, which are largely driven by growth in feature and smart handset penetration,” the report indicates.
Mobile subscriptions
Mobile subscriptions in Uganda stood at 26.7 million in December 2019, a 3 per cent jump from subscriptions in September 2019. This growth translates into a penetration of 66 telephone lines per 100 as of December 2019, up from 63.7 lines per 100 at the end of September 2019.

The quarterly report, which is based on licensees’ submissions, reveals a total of 1.9 million additions to the telephone network over the last four quarters.

97 per cent of the total subscriptions are on mobile, while 3 per cent are fixed lines.
Subscription on by type of phone
According to the report, the number of active smartphones on the network had risen to 6.6 million by the end of December 2019, while feature phones with basic data capabilities totaled 17.2 million.
The robust growth in cellular subscriptions, the report indicates, is driven by growing investment in both core and radio network coverage.

“By December 2019, 2G sites stood at 4,810, 3G sites stood at 4,187, and 4G sites stood at 2,593. These were served by a network of 19,609Km of terrestrial backhaul fibre,” the report says.
Mobile money
According to the report, mobile financial services continued to experience steady growth. About 700,000 new mobile money accounts were registered with the quarter ending December 2019.
“Net additions in registered mobile money accounts between December 2018 and December 2019 stood at 2.6 million new accounts,” read a part of the report. “The quarter ended with 27.1 million registered mobile money accounts, up from 26.4 million in September 2019.”

However, active mobile money accounts stood at 16.6 million accounts in December 2019, up from 15.6 million in September 2019, representing 6% on quarter growth.

Active mobile money subscriptions refer to, accounts that have conducted at least one billable financial service in three months, in this case, October – December 2019.