Exciting times lie ahead for Ugandans as they are on the brink of gaining access to super-fast internet like never before. Thanks to MTN Uganda, a leading African telecom firm, and its recent introduction of the country's first-ever 5G internet connectivity.
The journey of MTN Uganda's 5G network began in 2020 when it initiated a Proof of Concept (POC) with its partners to evaluate the service's capabilities. Subsequently, it forged a strategic five-year partnership with China's Huawei, to carry out an extensive 5G-capable core network modernization project and thereafter launched Uganda's first 5G industrial use case in May 2023.
To make 5G a reality, MTN Uganda invested UGX 95.4 billion (US$25.4 million) towards expanding the 4G network to 5G, enhancing fixed broadband access infrastructure, and laying the groundwork for the official launch of 5G services in early 2023.
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With the 5G network now in place, this technology aims to provide Ugandan customers with access to advanced and high-speed mobile internet services and reduced latency, significantly enhancing the user experience.
As the leading telecom operator in Uganda with over 17 million subscribers at the end of March 2023, according to Telegeography, MTN 5G service is set to further drive the country's digital and financial inclusion.
The new milestone adds Uganda to the list of African countries like South Africa, Kenya, and Nigeria that have adopted the service.
Looking ahead, MTN Uganda plans to expand its 5G coverage significantly. The company aims to achieve full 5G coverage in the capital city, Kampala, by the end of 2024. It also plans to expand its 5G base to all major cities over the next two years.
Notably, MTN was not alone in preparing for the 5G revolution in Uganda. Airtel, MTN's chief competitor in the country had already taken significant strides towards 5G readiness, having completed a full upgrade of its core network as far back as February. But, despite being fully equipped to embrace 5G technology, Airtel has yet to take the plunge into commercial 5G services.