Authorities in Uganda have given their conditional approval to a request by the country’s largest cellco by subscribers, MTN Uganda, to renew its licence which expires in October. The operator is looking to extend its concession for a further ten years, and the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has said it has no objections to the move, but stipulated that the cellco will be subject to a number of new conditions. According to a report from Agence Ecofin, these include an obligation to cover all urban areas with 4G and all other areas with 3G, obligatory network sharing (including masts and base stations), and an agreement to list part of the company on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) in Kampala. As reported by CommsUpdate earlier this week, Uganda’s Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has published a policy paper calling for all telcos and other major private companies to offer shares to local investors.
MTN did face some objections to its renewal request. In January a group of operators under the umbrella of the Wireless Applications and Service Providers Association of Uganda (WASPA-U) accused the mobile market leader of violations of regulations. They filed a petition which raised a number of charges against MTN, ranging from the under-declaring of revenues, to unethical business practices, anti-competitive behaviour, the illegal takeover of their businesses, violation of laws, and withholding of payments to local companies.