President is expected to preside over the official launch of Lycamobile, a United Kingdom-based virtual network operator (MVNO) which started laying the groundwork early last year ahead of its launch, betting on a market that was left by Vodafone.
Vodafone, which had been in Uganda for four years, at the time of closure, had reportedly accumulated a debt of more than Shs300 billion, casting an impression that the market was not ready for new mobile network operators. The company had just over 60,000 subscribers, way below its competitors like Africell (above 2 million), Airtel (more than 8 million) and MTN Uganda (above 11 million).
The telecommunications market in Uganda is currently dominated by MTN Uganda, followed by Airtel and then Africell.
Other telecom companies and internet service providers in Uganda include Smile Communications, which also mid-2018 lost its interconnection deal with Airtel; Uganda Telecom, which is still struggling to regain its glory; Tangerine, Smart Telecom, truIT Uganda, CSquared and Liquid Telecom.
Lycamobile, has been a player in the telecommunications sectors for more than ten years. An MVNO is a wireless communications services provider that does not own the wireless network infrastructure over which it provides services to its customers.
Lycamobile has already sold its telecom services in 23 countries, including Denmark, Germany, The Netherlands, Sweden, Australia, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and Switzerland.
In Africa, it is only present in South Africa, implying Uganda will be the second market, if nothing changes. The company will be partnering with Tangerine, one of the internet service providers in the country, according to sources, who refused to disclose details of the agreement, stating it was still premature to discuss the topic as they’re yet to agree on the launch program.
The launch of Lycamobile comes at the time when government wants telecom companies to list on the local securities exchange-Uganda Securities Exchange, to enable Ugandans own some shares in the companies.