Mobile phone users grow to 19.5m

A phone user makes a call. According to the UCC, about 19.5 million Ugandans are now using mobile phones. FILEPHOTO

Kampala. At least 52.3 per cent of Ugandans have access to mobile phones, according to the Uganda Communications Commission 2014 Access and usage of communication services across Uganda study, released last week.
The above growth, according to the report, translates into more than 19.5 million Ugandans connected to different mobile telecommunications networks.
MTN and Airtel have the biggest share with more than 17 million users split between them.
Commenting on the study, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, the UCC executive director, said developing communication was the way to go, although he added that there should be sustained measures for the masses to benchmark the growth with innovation that will drive development as well as improve household income.
Information and communications technology, according to Mr Mutabazi, contributes about 6.5 per cent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product largely driven by the telecommunications sector. He, however, warned that growth must impact the quality of services as well equipment supplied to users.
The study indicates that mobile phone accessibility in Uganda has been on a trajectory growth, increasing to 20.7 per cent in 2008 and 46.7 per cent before growing to 52.3 per cent in 2014.
The above data, according to analysts, show that Uganda is on the path to maximum tele-density penetration with an annual growth of about 20 per cent.
Speaking to Daily Monitor yesterday, Mr Sandor Walusimbi, the Airtel Uganda public relations manager, said the growth was a clear indication of a growing economy powered by gains from the telecommunications sector.
“We are not taking this growth for granted. It will provide us with an opportunity to highlight key commitments as well as improving services,” he said.
The study, which was conducted among the country’s rural and urban settings, targeted 1,529 individuals, 445 businesses and 70 institutions.
Ms Justine Ntabugoba Kayemba, the MTN Uganda senior manager corporate affairs said: “Increased mobile phone ownership means our services and products are reachable to the market.”

It also sought to identify current and potential future communications market attributes that the industry can leverage to spur growth.