Airtel Uganda Gets 20 Year National License

Airtel Uganda has been issued with a National Telecom Operators (NTO) License, which will be operational for the next 25 years.

This follows a period of negotiation and transition to a new Licensing Regime. “The new license is with effect from 1 July 2020 and is for 20 years. Airtel Uganda will retain all its current spectrum subject to the law and terms of the assignment.

The scope of services will be the provision of basic telecommunication services, infrastructure services, and value-added telecommunication services. This is according to the Uganda Communications Commission-UCC.

Also, Airtel Uganda commits to achieving coverage of 90% of the geographical boundary of Uganda within five years of the effective date of the license – with a minimum obligation of providing voice and data services.

Under the terms of the license, Airtel Uganda has paid USD 74.6 million which includes VAT of USD 11.4 million.

According to a statement from Airtel Africa, the issuance of the license follows a long period of negotiations and what they call a transition into a new licensing regime.

Under the new regime, an NTO is granted to an operator that demonstrates financial and technical capacity to establish and operate a telecommunications network spanning across the entire geographical boundary of Uganda.

The license allows the license holder to establish and provide both telecommunication infrastructure and services across the entire country and may be renewed after the 20-year expiry, under the Uganda Communications Act 2013.

The licensee is required to list at least 20% of its shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE) within two years from the date of issuance of a license.

In July, MTN Uganda was issued with its second NTO after the first one expired in 2018. The negotiation for a new license spanned two years into the new licensing regime. MTN finally agreed to pay a record fee of USD 100 million for the license that will be operational for the next 12 years.

Airtel Uganda will retain all its current spectrum subject to the law and terms of the assignment.


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