Kampala — MTN Uganda has been granted a 12-year operation license extension effective July 1, 2020, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) announced.
At a brief ceremony held at the UCC offices in Bugolobi, UCC director Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo congratulated MTN on this "momentous occasion" while the MTN Uganda CEO Wim Vanhellpute pledged "to deliver a new digital life to everyone, everywhere."
MTN Uganda was first granted a Second National Operator License for the provision of telecommunications services on 20th October 1998 for a period of 20 years.
The telecom's license having expired in October 2018, was followed by protracted negotiations involving the central government, UCC and MTN Uganda, culminating in this breakthrough.
Under section 5, 22 and 39 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, the Commission is mandated to monitor, license, inspect, supervise, control and regulate communications services.
In addition, the Commission is empowered, under section 38 and 43 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013, to grant an extension to the Second National Operator licensee upon terms and conditions that reflect the prevailing circumstances of the communications sector in Uganda.
Having conducted a performance assessment of MTN Uganda operations over the last 20 years, the Commission came to the conclusion that MTN Uganda had substantially complied with its financial and legal obligations as well as most of the technical obligations.
Noting that this was the first license under the new licensing framework, Ms Kaggwa Sewankambo congratulated MTN and the Government of Uganda on this milestone and expressed readiness to continue to work with the telecom operator to modernise the communications sector and to provide quality and affordable services to the people of Uganda.
On his part, Mr Vanhellpute expressed gratitude to H.E. President Museveni, the Government and the Commission for the engaging discussions that led to the license extension.
"We've fulfilled our obligations," he triumphantly declared.
However, although Mr Vanhellpute observed that MTN Uganda has a presence in all of Uganda's 135 districts currently, he was quick to acknowledge that there is much more to do on the technical side to make the slogan "Everywhere you go" a "scientific reality."
The MTN Uganda CEO also underscored MTN's commitment to the terms and conditions of the license agreement, including the listing of a portion of its shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).
"We believe this is an opportunity to enhance our relationship with our customers who will also now be able to become owners in this venture," he said, adding that this will come to pass within the next 24 months.