Vodafone Uganda appointed Allan Richardson as its new CEO just two months after launching 4G services in the cities of Kampala and Entebbe.
Richardson, a British national, replaces acting CEO Tage Rasmussen who has returned to his position as implementations director at the Afrimax group. Afrimax is using the Vodafone brand for the launch of 4G services in Sub-Saharan Africa, and Uganda was the first country to benefit from commercial 4G services under the non-equity partner market arrangement.
The new CEO, whose appointment was confirmed by an Afrimax spokesperson, is a seasoned telecoms executive whose CV includes the launch of five mobile operators, two of which as CEO. His most recent C-level position at a telecoms company was as COO at Digicel Haiti from November 2013 to April 2014. Prior to that, he was CEO at Wataniya Palestine.
Richardson's strong track record in start-ups and high-growth emerging markets will benefit a new operator that is seeking to forge a path in a highly competitive market with around seven telecoms service providers. Indeed, Orange has already quit the Ugandan market after deciding that conditions were too difficult there, completing the sale of Orange Uganda to Africell in November 2014.
Netherlands-based Afrimax launched in 2010 and has built up a portfolio of TD-LTE spectrum in a number of countries. Vodafone Uganda's 4G network operates in the 2.6 GHz spectrum band.
Vodafone and Afrimax also join a growing number of operators that are targeting LTE opportunities in Africa. Orange has already deployed commercial LTE networks in Mauritius and Botswana, for example. As part of its new Essentials2020 five-year strategy unveiled in March, the France-based operator intends to launch a further five LTE networks in Africa this year, and plans to launch 4G in the majority of its markets in Africa and the Middle East by 2018.
Meanwhile Surfline Communications was launched as a data-only LTE provider in Ghana, while Smile sells LTE data services in Tanzania, Uganda and Nigeria and plans to launch services soon in DRC.
The GSMA has previously forecast that the number of unique mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass the half billion mark in 2020 as mobile services become increasingly affordable and accessible to millions of currently unconnected citizens across the region.
- see this Daily Monitor article
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GSMA: Mobile subscribers in Sub-Saharan Africa will pass 0.5B in 2020