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Ugandan mobile operators to form rural power consortium
For the first time mobile operators in Uganda formed a consortium to address the power problem. Danish Hussain, the head of engineering at Warid Telecom, said that Warid, MTN, Zain and Uganda Telecom, have formed a consortium that will see the companies share costs incurred in electrifying their base stations across the country. Warid already shares infrastructure with Orange Uganda but this will extend to other operators too. Urban base stations with relatively easy access to roads and grid power can cost US$2,500 a month to run. By contrast, the rural bases stations without either of these advantages can cost up to US$20,000 month to run: in other words, each base station of this type costs an additional $210,000 a year to run. So both capex and opex are held high through lack of power to the base stations. The Consortium plans to connect some rural communities to the grid and the obvious spin-off is that houses and business premises in those areas will get power supply.

 

Smile launches in Kampala
Smile Telecom, the first ever Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone provider on the WiMAX platform in Africa launched its services on the Uganda market bringing the number of telecommunication providers to seven.

According to Carrington Phillip, the Country Manager of Smile Telecom, this is the first VoIP WiMAX based telecom company and operates in the same way as Skype. Smile uses this platform because of its efficient, unique, excellent, competitive and low cost technology that translates into the lowest cost call rates ever. They are targeting the bottom of the economic pyramid customers.


Smile Telecom is a South African and Saudi Arabian owned consortium with headquarters in South Africa.

 

MTN’s average Revenue per User Declines
In Uganda, MTN's Average Revenue Per User (ARPU) has declined, according to its latest figures. On average, each MTN caller spent US$6 (Approx. Shs 11,000) on calls in the September Quarter compared to US$7 (Approx. Shs 13,000) which is a 9% drop in revenue contribution to the group. Ugandans were spending up to US$8 on MTN calls in 2008 and US$10 in 2007. In 2002, MTN's ARPU in Uganda was US$30.

 

ICTs and climate change. Lead role or supporting act?
*Meeting without traveling*: The OECD held a “virtual” discussion on the role of ICTs for climate change at the UN Climate Change talks. The latest video conferencing technology joined Copenhagen, Paris and Tokyo with Bangalore (India) and Hong Kong (China). Speakers from government and academia discussed the role of “Green ICTs” while sitting around a ‘virtual’ table and facing each other in high definition. *Green ICTs*: The discussion was on the important role that ICTs have in tackling climate change and responding to environmental challenges. They also discussed the role of technologies for green growth in the economic recovery. 

 

Uganda: Civil Servants asked to return Blackberry phones
President Yoweri Museveni, members of Parliament (MPs) and other top government officials who received 450 Blackberry phones during the Commonwealth summit were asked to return them to the ICT ministry.


The Public Accounts Committee in Parliament asked Dr Jimmy Saamanya, the ICT ministry permanent secretary to retrieve the gadgets from ministers, permanent secretaries and commissioners.

They were all given seven days to return them because they are government assets not for individual use. In October 2007, the government contracted Celtel (Zain) and Uganda Telecom to supply them.  Zain supplied 254 Blackberry phones at a cost of $102,000 (about Shs200 million) each while UTL’s cost has not yet been disclosed to the committee. 33 computers worth Shs103.4 million were also procured fro CHOGM 2007.
 

 

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