Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said he is ‘astonished’ that the local telecoms regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), has renewed the operating licence of MTN Uganda at a lower fee than originally announced. The firm has paid USD58 million for the ten-year renewal instead of the USD100 million fee which was set initially. The reduction has reportedly come after MTN said it would have to invest at least USD200 million to meet the conditions of a new national broadband policy, which aims to improve internet connectivity in rural areas.
A report from Reuters says President Museveni has written to the country’s ICT Minister and the Attorney General to say that he was ‘astonished’ by the UCC’s decision. He said that South African-owned MTN Uganda had ‘reaped vast profits, most of which have obviously been repatriated’. It has been suggested that MTN is required to list shares on the local bourse as part of the conditions for the renewal, though this has not yet been confirmed by the cellco.