Uganda’s telephone subscribers increased by 1.8 million in the third quarter of 2019/2020 bringing the total number to 28.5 million people.
According to the Uganda Communication Commission’s January to March 2020 quarterly report, in December 2019, the number of subscribers increased from 26.7 million to 28.5 million by the end of March 2020. This was the strongest growth in the Mobile segment while growth in fixed-line subscriptions was minimal with less than 1,000 new connections.
The growth in subscribers in this quarter reflects the highest three-month growth rate in the financial year 2019/20. The first quarter from July 2019 to September had 24.8 million subscribers, the second quarter had 25.5 million, third-quarter had 25.7 million and the fourth quarter 28.5 million.
During the January to March 2020 quarter, fixed Internet subscribers were 30,440 in the broadband segment down from 32,370 registered in the October to December 2019 quarter. The decline in subscribers was due to the COVID-19 pandemic which made a number of subscribers transact from home on mobile phones rather than fixed internet common in office environments.
In the same period, the Mobile Internet Subscribers grew to about 18.8 million reflecting a raise by from the 16.9 million registered in the previous quarter an increase of 1.9 million subscribers.
According to the report, this is the first time internet connection posted more than 1 million new connections in two consecutive quarters. Over the last 12 months, total internet subscriptions have grown by 31 per cent.
“At the end of the review period, mobile internet subscriptions accounted for 99.6 per cent of all internet subscriptions in Uganda,” read the report in part.
Mobile Money registered accounts also saw growth by almost 700,000 new registrations from 24.7 million registered accounts in December 2019 to 25.4 million accounts by March 2020.
In the October to December 2019 quarter, the number of active mobile money subscribers raised from 18.7 million to 20.97 million in the quarter ending March 2020.
The report partly associates the unusual performance in January to March 2020 to the adoption of digital work methods like ‘Work-From-Home’ offers, as well as international returning residents in the wake of the pandemic.