Vodafone Uganda launches 4G services

Vodafone Uganda has started selling voice and 4G data services in the cities of Kampala and Entebbe, and plans to rapidly expand its 4G network to other cities.

The move comes just months after Vodafone signed a framework agreement with Afrimax Group in November 2014 to explore further opportunities in Sub-Saharan Africa, with Uganda set to be the first target market under the new arrangement.

On its web site, Vodafone Uganda is now advertising data plans and voice tariffs, and although 4G plans are not clearly highlighted the company flags that 4G coverage is available in Kampala and Entebbe. Customers outside the first two 4G cities will initially have access to 2G and 3G services.

The company is marketing daily, weekly and monthly data bundles as well as "unlimited" data plans with speeds of up to 6 Mbps. Promotional offers include the ability to carry forward any unused data, while 4G LTE data devices are also included for free in the unlimited plans. Interestingly, the company is also allowing the data allowances to be used across multiple devices.

Tage Rasmussen, acting CEO of Vodafone Uganda, said the company is targeting individual customers as well as small and large businesses, according to an AllAfrica report.

However, the report noted that the new operator is competing in a "congested market" of seven telecoms service providers. Indeed, Vodafone announced its Uganda plans in the same month that Orange completed the sale of Orange Uganda to Africell, after the France-based group decided that competitive conditions were too difficult there.

Under the terms of the framework agreement with Vodafone Group, Afrimax will utilise the Vodafone brand to market its LTE services across Sub-Saharan Africa. The agreement takes the form of a non-equity partner market arrangement, which Vodafone typically uses to target markets where it does not have a presence.

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 beginning to target LTE opportunities in Africa. Orange confirmed last year that it is rolling out LTE in some of its 20 markets in Africa and the Middle East including Senegal, DRC, Ivory Coast, Botswana, and Mauritius.

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.

For more:
- see this AllAfrica article

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