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Uganda Telecom Expansion Begins in Earnest PDF Print E-mail

A month after sealing a $50 million (about Shs8 billion) deal with Huawei Technologies to expand its GSM network to over 70 per cent of the Ugandan population by November 2007, Uganda telecom has started rolling out at a fast pace.

Last week, Uganda telecom Marketing and Communications Manager Mark Kaheru said UTL had already connected five sites; Mugamba-Kyazaanga, Karamurani, Bondo, Kapchorwa and Katooke.

Under the deal that was signed on June 28 in Kampala, the two parties - Huawei Technologies and UTL agreed that the former would provide and install 200 base stations by November 2007.

"We are rolling out at a faster rate and this is the first phase in a planned two-phased expansion plan in the bid to grow UTL's subscriber base to two million by 2008," said Mr Kaheru at the company's headquarters at Rwenzori Courts in Kampala

he rollout will include a network upgrade that will see an expansion on the existing Intelligent Network (IN) and MSC switches.

On the new IN, Mr Kaheru said: "The new IN will also come with additional value added services aimed at bringing to life UTL's vision of providing an exciting experience in communication to its subscribers."

Recently, UTL expanded its horizons to Kenya when it inked a deal with Kenya's leading telecommunication company Safaricom. Under its Keep it Ugandan slogan, UTL customers can now go to Kenya and pay home rates for voice and data. Erstwhile, UTL was using a roaming service, which proved too costly to its customers after rivals Celtel Uganda, and MTN had introduced free roaming products- One Network and Home and Away respectively.

Currently, UTL has over 220 base station sites countrywide and controls a market share of 20 per cent in the mobile sector.

Over the last couple of years, it has spent close to $70 million in expanding its network and now covers 60 per cent of the country.



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