Ugandan telecom and internet service providers recorded increased demand for data services in the last quarter of 2020.
According to the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), at least 20 million mobile subscribers, accounting for 50 percent of Uganda’s population are connected to broadband. This is the first time the number of connected users has crossed the 20 million mark, which means that one out of every two Ugandans is connected.
The country experienced higher subscriptions during the Covid-19 pandemic when more people started working from home.
“This growth is mainly attributed to the shifting work culture driven by the Covid-19 pandemic, which led many businesses to adopt remote working methods, says the report covering July – September 2020,” the report says.
Uganda recorded an additional one million subscribers during the months of July, August and September bringing the figure to 25.6 million fixed and cellular subscriptions, the same figure recorded in December 2019, pre-Covid-19.
“Having dropped from 28.4 million in the first quarter (January – March 2020) to 25.4 million in the second quarter (April to June 2020), mobile subscriptions recovered to record 26.5 million at the end of September 2020,” the report indicates.
Between September 2019 and September 2020, the sector recorded a 3.3 percent growth despite the 3 million subscriber drop recorded between March and June at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.
“Amid the disruption over the last six months, the sector averaged quarter-on-quarter growth rates of 1 per cent over the last 12 months. This comparatively subdued performance is largely attributed to the 11 per cent subscriber drop in the months April-June 2020,” the report stated.
According to the UCC, the current figures show translates to about 64 lines for every 100 Ugandans.
“At 1.8m newly registered accounts between June and September, mobile financial services led industry-wide product growth, jumping from 25.9m subscriptions at the end of June 2020 to 27.7m at the end of September 2020,” the report indicates.