The telecommunications industry recorded gross revenue of more than 37 trillion shillings in the 12 months ending December 2020. This is the first time this mark has been met in the industry’s history.
The latest communications market performance report, a quarterly market tracker, shows that 1.144 trillion shillings were recorded for the October – December 2020 quarter, surpassing the 1.095 trillion shillings recorded in the third quarter (July to September 2020).
For the 12 months ending December 2020, the industry’s total revenue reached $1.007bn or 3.5 trillion shillings, setting a new performance history for the industry.
“The record performance was attributed to sustained growth in digital and mobile financial services, jointly accounting for more than 39% of total quarterly revenues,” the report states.
The report also revealed a record rise in domestic minutes of talk, internet downloads and mobile money transactions.
On domestic voice traffic, a new record for the market was also met, recording 14.8 billion minutes in the months October to December 2020.
This surpassed the earlier set domestic quarterly traffic record of 14.4 billion between July to September by more than 370 million minutes of talk. This performance translates into an average of 177 minutes per month for every active line.
There was also growth in the fixed and mobile subscriptions, of 1.3 million lines during the quarter despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the subdued influx of Ugandans from the Diaspora, which normally reaches the climax during the 4th quarter.
This is also a 4% growth over the number recorded in the same period in 2019.
Compared to the 1 million new subscriptions recorded over the same period in 2019, the 1.3 million new fixed and mobile subscriptions recorded in the months October to December 2020 translate into a year-on-year growth lead.
This performance, coming on the backdrop of a 3 million subscriber erosion at the height of the COVID-19 lockdown in the second quarter (April to June 2020), points to a remarkable post-COVID-19 recovery in the sector.
The growth in subscriptions has increased service access with the number of lines available to every 100 inhabitants jumping from 64 lines in September 2020 to 67 lines per 100 individuals at the end of December 2020.
The report further points out that for the second quarter running, the market posted a growth of more than 1.2 million new internet connections. The bulk of these was on mobile, accounting for more than 98% of new internet connections.
Accordingly, by the end of December 2020, the number of active internet subscriptions had grown to 21.4 million, translating into an internet access reach of more than one active connection for every two Ugandans.
On the other hand, the mobile money segment did grow as fast as the other ones, posting a growth of 1.8 million new mobile money accounts between July and September.
In the fourth quarter, subscriptions dropped sharply to 325,000 new mobile money accounts.
Nevertheless, this led to a national mobile money account total of 28 million, up from 27.7 million accounts at the end of September 2020.
This translates to a national mobile money penetration of 66 accounts per 100 persons in Uganda, according to UCC.
Besides, the number of mobile money transactions during the quarter crossed the 1 billion transactions mark for the first time.
They surpassed the previous quarterly record of 954 million transactions posted in the months July to September 2020.
This translates into an average of 15 transactions per active mobile money account every month, including agent-assisted deposits, mobile money bank transfers, mobile betting, and merchant payments, among other transaction categories.
The volume of broadband traffic recorded during the fourth quarter, having grown to 71.5 Billion MBs, up from the 59 Billion MBs posted in the third quarter.
These figures represent a quarter-to-quarter broadband demand growth rate of 11%, outperforming the 6% growth in broadband subscriptions.
The sharp increase in downloads per user is a pattern that has been witnessed in other markets too, following COVID-19 driven changes in the way people work, entertainment and education, among other aspects of life impacted by the pandemic.
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