MTN seeks to achieve 90 percent network coverage next year 

MTN is seeking licensing requirements that demand border-to-border network coverage. Photo / File  

What you need to know:

  • MTN has previously indicated it has a presence in 134 districts across the country, out of the of the 146 districts  

MTN says it will achieve a 90 percent geographical coverage of Uganda next year. 

In a post-annual general meeting statement released yesterday, MTN said it was committed on achieving 90 percent geographical coverage across Uganda by 2025.

“Our vision for the future is resolute. With ongoing support from our shareholders and customers, We are poised for even greater achievements. Together, we are unstoppable,” Ms Sylvia Mulinge, the MTN chief executive officer, said, noting the telecom will continue to significantly invest in network infrastructure, customer acquisition, and Fintech innovations.

In July 2020, government renewed MTN’s National Telecom Operating license for Shs371.5b. 

The National Telecom Operating license is issued to a telecommunications operators with demonstrable financial and technical capacity to establish and operate a network spanning the geographical boundary of Uganda, according to Uganda Communications Commission. At the time of the license renewal, MTN had a network coverage of about 80 percent but the telecom has been investing in upgrades, expansion and technology to meet the required coverage. 

For instance, in its 2023 annual report, MTN reported that it had, during the period under review, committed Shs353.5b in infrastructure and network upgrades to expand its reach and network quality. 

It was not immediately clear when MTN hopes to achieve the 100 percent coverage, and in which areas the telecom has no reach. 

However, the telecom has previously indicated that it has a presence in 134 districts across the country. According to data from Uganda Bureau of Statistics, Uganda has 146 districts  

It is not clear how many telecoms carry the National Telecom Operating license, but according to details from UCC Airtel operations are licensed under the same license. 

In its 2023 annual report, Airtel indicated that “our network is 100 percent 4G across Uganda, supporting the delivery of seamless connectivity in all the territorial boundaries of Uganda”.

MTN and Airtel currently operate a semi-duopoly, with the two telecoms sharing more than 95 percent of the country’s subscriber numbers and infrastructural investments.  

Uganda Telecom, which was last restructured into a new telecom under Uganda Telecommunications Company Limited, remains on the peripheral with very little influence.