Uganda Communications Commission Awards 5G Spectrum to MTN and Airtel

The Uganda Communications Commission awards 5G spectrum licenses to market leaders MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda.

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has recently awarded the first 5G spectrum licenses in the country. Reports indicate that the majority of the available 5G spectrum, over 68%, has been allocated to the leading market players, MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda.

In late May, the UCC invited interested parties to apply for radio spectrum as part of a competitive multi-band award process for broadband deployment in Uganda. Operators participating in the process were required to pay an initial commitment fee of up to US$1.5 million if they planned to deploy 5G using multiple frequency bands.

After evaluating the submissions, Airtel Uganda and MTN Uganda were awarded spectrum corresponding to 25 out of the 37 available blocks. According to TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, MTN secured frequencies in the 700MHz, 2.3GHz, 2.6GHz, and E-band (71GHz-76GHz/81GHz-86GHz) ranges, while Airtel succeeded in the 800MHz, 3.5GHz, and E-band ranges. The licenses include specific coverage and data rate targets.

However, bids from Uganda Telecom, Lyca Mobile, and Intracom did not succeed, and certain blocks in the 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands were left unallocated.

The UCC had initially aimed to complete the spectrum allocation process by mid-August, but it appears that the process has been completed over a month ahead of schedule.

Airtel had already confirmed in February that its network was fully 5G-ready, while MTN is engaged in a strategic partnership with Huawei for a 5G-capable core network modernization project.

This move marks a significant step in Uganda’s journey towards 5G connectivity, enabling operators to enhance their network capabilities and provide advanced services to their customers.

Image by jannoon028 on Freepik

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