MTN Uganda Announces UGX 42.5 Billion Contribution to UCC’s Universal Service and Access Fund

MTN Uganda has announced a substantial contribution of Shs 42.5 billion to the Uganda Communications Commission’s (UCC) Universal Service and Access Fund, aimed at developing telecommunications services in underserved areas. This marks a significant increase from last year’s contribution of Shs 36 billion.

The announcement was made during a press briefing held at the UCC, highlighting MTN Uganda’s ongoing commitment to driving substantial change and bridging the digital divide in the country. This contribution underscores MTN Uganda’s dedication to not just meeting but exceeding its licensing obligations.

“At MTN, we believe that everyone deserves the benefits of a modern connected world. Therefore, our contribution to the Universal Service and Access Fund is not just an obligation but is deeply aligned with the core values of our business,” said MTN CEO Sylvia Mulinge.

“Connectivity is the cornerstone of our economy, vital for modernizing education, revolutionizing healthcare, and enabling financial inclusion through digital technologies.”

Mulinge emphasized that the new support to UCC aligns with MTN’s 2025 strategy of leading digital solutions for Africa’s progress.

This development comes as recent statistics from the UCC illustrate the critical need for expanded connectivity efforts. In the second quarter of 2023, the country experienced an influx of 600,000 new mobile phone subscriptions, bringing the total to 34.9 million. This substantial growth in mobile services demonstrates a robust national telephone penetration rate of 77 lines per 100 Ugandans.

In addition, the period witnessed a significant 6% increase in active mobile internet users, totaling 12.5 million. This surge is largely driven by the widespread adoption of smartphones, which have become the primary internet access point for most Ugandans.

Thembo Nyombi, Executive Director of the Uganda Communications Commission, highlighted the impact of recent funding on expanding telecommunications services to underserved regions.

“Currently, 85% of government secondary schools have computer labs connected to the internet thanks to this fund,” he stated. “However, while secondary schools are being covered, there is a significant gap in primary schools, where the majority of pupils reach Primary Seven without ever seeing or using a computer.”

Nyombi also disclosed that the communications regulatory agency has utilized the Universal Service and Access Fund to establish 65 masts over the past two years in areas deemed commercially unviable for telecom companies, promoting fair and equal access to digital services.

However, MTN Uganda is not only focused on infrastructure development; it is also deeply committed to cultivating digital skills in the next generation. The telecom company is accelerating smartphone adoption through the increased uptake of its M-Kabode Supa flagship product and other smartphone sales partnerships, following improvements in pricing and value propositions to enhance penetration.

Moreover, MTN Uganda has established over 42 ICT labs in various educational institutions nationwide and continues to engage communities directly through initiatives like the MTN Internet Bus, which provides essential ICT training.

“Today’s significant financial contribution to the Universal Service and Access Fund is a clear indicator of our resolve,” Mulinge added. “We are setting new standards for what can be achieved in digital inclusion and are dedicated to ensuring no Ugandan is left behind.”

MTN Uganda calls on all stakeholders to join in this transformative journey towards a more connected and digitally empowered Uganda. Through collaboration, innovation, and effective implementation, the combined efforts will significantly shape the nation’s digital landscape.

John Ogulei