Internet users spend Shs3,000 each per month - UCC report

Monday September 14 2020

At least 18.8m Ugandans access the Internet through phones. PHOTO | FILE

By Christine Kasemiire

 On average a Ugandan Internet subscriber uses 582.2 megabytes (MBs) of data per month, which translates to about Shs3,000, according to Uganda Communications Commissions (UCC). 

Uganda currently has 18.8 million Internet subscribers, who, in the period between January and March used at least 49 billion MBs of broadband Internet. 

This was a growth of at least 6.7 billion MBs from 42.3 billion MBs recorded in the period between October to December 2019.

A report by UCC indicates that on average a Ugandan Internet subscribers used 555 MBs in January, 546 MBs in February and 664 MBs in March. 

“During quarter one of 2020, total quarterly broadband traffic has grown to 49 billion MBs from 42.3 billion MBs in the quarter October-December, 2019,” the report said. 


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

The growth was pegged to early demand for Internet during the initial lockdown period in March.

“The new growth in mobile broadband traffic at the end of the quarter may be largely attributed to the early demand for work-from-home Internet packages that followed the initial lockdown,” the report read in part. 

Uganda announced phased lockdown of some businesses in March before it was partly lifted in June. 
The lockdown limited movements which meant that businesses had to turn to remote operations to keep operations moving. 
The report indicates that during the period there was an increase in e-commerce, online conferencing and multimedia streaming, which could have influenced data consumption. 

Leading telecoms, Airtel and MTN with a combined market share of 90 per cent, earlier this year confirmed that there was a surge in demand for Internet occasioned by the work-from-home campaign. 
Mr VG Somasekhar, the Airtel managing director, said they had seen increased usage of data and voice services. This was the same with MTN. 

The unprecedented growth in part affected the reliability of the Internet speed leading to increased latency.

Uganda’s Internet subscribers grew from 16.9 million in December 2019 to 18.8m in March 2020.
The growth, UCC said, translates into an Internet penetration of 45 Internet connections per 100 Ugandans (45 per cent).

During the quarter, 1.2 million new broadband connections were registered while 1.4 million new subscribers were posted in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Sim-enabled otherwise known as mobile internet, according to the report is the preferred medium of internet access comprising 99.6 per cent of all internet subscription in the country. 

There are currently 18.8 million mobile Internet subscribers compared to only 30,440 fixed Internet subscribers. 
Growth in Internet subscribers could also be explained by the increase in Internet enabled phones otherwise known as smartphones. 
For instance, the number of smartphone users grew from 6.8 million in January to 7 million in March.