Ugandans are currently experiencing exceptionally high-speed internet access like never before. This development is made possible by MTN Uganda, a prominent African telecommunication company that recently launched the country’s inaugural 5G internet connection.
MTN Uganda’s journey towards 5G began in 2020 when it embarked on a Proof of Concept with its partners to assess the service’s potential. Following this, it entered a strategic five-year alliance with Huawei, China’s tech giant, to execute a broad modernization project for a 5G-ready core network. Subsequently, in May 2023, it launched the first 5G use case for industries in Uganda.
To actualize 5G, MTN Uganda invested UGX 95.4 billion (US$25.4 million). The funds were directed towards the upgradation of the existing 4G network to 5G, bolstering fixed broadband access infrastructure, and laying the foundation for the official rollout of 5G services at the beginning of 2023.
With the 5G network established, this technology aspires to grant Ugandan consumers access to sophisticated, high-speed mobile internet services and decreased latency, thereby notably enriching the user experience.
As the top telecom operator in Uganda, boasting over 17 million subscribers by the end of March 2023, as per Telegeography, the MTN 5G service is poised to propel the country’s digital and financial inclusivity further.
This significant achievement positions Uganda alongside other African countries such as South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria that have already adopted this service.
Looking to the future, MTN Uganda has ambitious plans to extend its 5G coverage considerably. The firm intends to attain complete 5G coverage in the capital city, Kampala, by the close of 2024. Furthermore, it plans to broaden its 5G footprint to all primary cities within the next few years.
It’s worth noting that MTN wasn’t the sole player preparing for the 5G revolution in Uganda. Airtel, MTN’s main rival in the country, had already made significant progress toward 5G readiness. As early as February, it had completed a comprehensive upgrade of its core network. Despite being fully prepared to adopt 5G technology, Airtel has not yet ventured into the provision of commercial 5G services.