MTN Uganda renewal hearing set for February 26
January 15—The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) will hold a public hearing on February 26 to hear objections, if any, of MTN Uganda’s bid to renew its operating license which expires towards the end of this year.
The company first began operations on October 21, 1998 and wants to renew its license for another 10 years, effective from October 21 2018. However by February 13, the UCC will have handed over its own initial assessment to MTN Uganda as a matter of public record.
‘Subsequently, the Commission shall conduct a public hearing where MTN Uganda Limited and any member of the public with a legitimate interest in this matter may be allowed to substantiate their comments or objections to the application,” Godfrey Mutabazi said in a notice last year.
Usually these hearings, held in the UCC conference hall, are routine and tend to be dull and muted affairs, but the case of Uganda’s biggest telecom company is attracting some attention. Proceedings are scheduled to start at 10 am.
According to media reports here, a loose group, known as the Wireless Applications and Service Providers Association of Uganda (WASPA-U) have asked President Yoweri Museveni to look into the issue, with the main complaint being that MTN Uganda has been abusing it market clout and crowding out potential entrants.
A senior MTN Uganda official told 256BN, “They are entitled to their views, but wasting time, if they think it will make any difference. We have been around for almost 20 years. Last year, the Uganda Investment Authority acknowledged that we are the top tax payer in this country, well over UGX400 billion. The hearing is not the space for this kind of noise,” he said.
Total mobile subscriptions in Uganda number just over 22 million and MTN Uganda has about 55% market share followed by Airtel Uganda.
MTN Uganda is a subsidiary of the South African multinational MTN Group and according to its latest figures published last August, generated revenues of nearly $190 million for first half of 2017.