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UCC grants MTN Uganda one- month interim working permit, firm remains silent on stringent conditions

L-R, MTN CEO Wim Vanhelleputte with UCC boss Godfrey Mutabazi at the MTN Expo recently in Kololo. (Javira Ssebwami)

KAMPALA– The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has given telecom giants MTN Uganda a 30-day provisional licence after their operating permit expired on October 20, 2018.

Eng Godfrey Mutabazi, the Executive Director of UCC– the regulator of the communications sector in Uganda on Tuesday said that MTN was not ready for licence renewal by the time its licence expired on Saturday.

“When they are ready, it will be issued. We are still working out some modalities. We have given them a 30-day provisional licence,” he said.

Mutabazi said MTN will get a 10-year licence before the expiry of 30-day provisional licence.

MTN over the weekend held an expo at Kololo airstrip to celebrate 20 years of success in Uganda since 1988.

The process for licence of renewal started a year ago when Mutabazi revealed that UCC had received an application from MTN.

Cabinet last month gave UCC a go-ahead to renew MTN’s licence but stringent terms as laid out in the new national broadband policy.

The new licensing conditions, for instance, include listing on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE), covering entire geographical coverage of Uganda, national roaming, among others.

UCC also directed telecom giants MTN Uganda to list some of its shares on the local stock exchange as a condition for renewing its operating license.

Mutabazi said Ugandans should be able to own a stake in the firm which has operated in the country for 20 years.

ICT and national guidance minister, Frank Tumwebaze said these stringent conditions will apply to other telecom companies as well when they apply for licence renewal.

 

ICT Miniter Frank Tumwebaze said the newly introduced stringent conditions will apply to other telecom companies as well when they apply for licence renewal (Javira Ssebwami)

“Cabinet tasked the minister for ICT and Uganda Communication Commission to work with the attorney general to ensure that the operator licence for MTN has clear terms and conditions that aim at ensuring the quality of service,” Tumwebaze told journalists last month when unveiling a new broadband policy.

MTN corporate affairs manager Val Oketcho did not pick repeated calls for a comment.

 

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