Ugandans buy mobile data bundles at very high prices compared to any other country in East Africa__A new survey has revealed. Even with amazing telecom packages like Airtel’s Freaky Friday, MTN’s Gaga offer and Africell’s don’t be cheated Wednesday in the mix, the price of connecting to the Internet is relatively higher compared to its neighboring states.
At $4.69 for 1GB of data, Uganda is considered the highest Mobile data payment zone after Tanzania in its own zone at $5.93, Burundi at $2.73, Kenya $2 and Rwanda at $0.56 according to a survey by cable.co.uk published by the Daily Monitor.
Even when Tanzania leaps like a giantic mobile data expensive zone, the new survey suggests that, presence of a Government backbone fiber network bezels the cost of internet access to its lows in the Swahili nation.
Tanzania is on the coast and should be cheaper than Kampala as a result, but their wholesale pricing is more expensive, which indicates there is an artificial reason why and my view is their government’s crazy telecoms policiesThe Report suggests
What the Telecom Companies Offer in Uganda
A Majority of all Internet service providers (Telecoms) in Uganda have widely spread wings across the African continent. Even with the multiple region instances, the same telcos offer slightly higher packages in Uganda as per the new survey.
Big players like MTN, Airtel, and Africell almost offer the same mobile data bundles with the same price ranges. For Instance, All mobile data tiers start from as low a UGX 250/= with 25MBs turning out to be the average rate for the trio.
Average Mobile Data offers By Ugandan Operators
25MBs – 250/=
50MBs – 500/=
100MBs – 1000/=
However, the service providers are objective of the stated data [prices with their objectives tied up to lowering the cost per GB of data in Uganda as MTN’s Martin Sebuliba commented on their quest to lower Internet costs for their subscribers.
MTN continues its efforts of democratising access to the Internet by investing in infrastructure/coverage and reducing the cost burden on fewer users, by recruiting more data customers through offering discounted bundles and affordable data enabled handsets like the Kamunye, KaFit and Fero phones that we’ve launched in the recent pastMTN SpokesPerson, Mr Martin Sebuliba to Daily Monitor
Though Major players like Airtel and Africell didn’t share their views to Daily Monitor in the Interview. The competition sphere in Uganda is like cheese and wine to a point that If MTN as the market leader lowers its prices, its competitors tremble with the same pace to spice up the subscribers base.
UCC’s Future forecast on the Data prices
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) is the middle shake-up authority in the telecommunications industry and a relevant member in the data prices determination.
According to the authority, the data prices are as a result of costs incurred to get Internet connectivity in the country. The cost of stretching out fiber links to the coastline and the backhaul ratio to neighboring states like Kenya and Tanzania mines more figures to the overall cost per 1GB of data
Hence, the costs incurred by telecoms to source Internet connectivity from the Coastline and the existence of multiple redundancy points to eliminate points of failure greatly increases the telcos expenditure to costs that need to be recovered.
Additionally, in a bid to secure affordable wholesale prices, the local operators are expected to commit to IRUs [Indefeasible Right of Use] of 10 to 15 years prepaid and other costs to upstream providers of Transit Internet IP connection and international Internet bandwidth providers like EASsy, Teams, and EIG,
As a result, the operators grow a need to recover the upfront expenditures by carrying on the cost to the final subscribers/consumers. In addition, with a low Smartphone penetration rate, the low demand rate further impacts the prices issued by telcos.
The Cost Compared to Other African Countries
Though Uganda boasts as one of the high mobile data prices zones in East Africa, it doesn’t appear on the top 5 expensive zones in Africa. Several countries like Zimbabwe have per GB costs of up-to $75 with Equatorial Guinea in the same league at $65 and Saint Helena finishing the podium at $55
However, the high prices in these countries that are lucky to have a clean taste of the coastline are due to the demand levels that closely determine how much the service providers can stretch to recover connection costs.
It’s by the same fashion that far from the coast nations like Rwanda and Burundi have comparably low costs due to their extensive demand by the local Netizens.
In a nutshell, Internet prices in a country like Uganda are prophesized to meet new lows in the near future due to multiple network improvements including swings-in by giantic tech companies like Huawei that are willing to extend 5G to Africa.