Uganda issued Tuesday March 13, a GSM mobile license to Saudi Arabian HITS Telecom, making it the fourth mobile telephone service provider in the east African country.
HITS chief executive Edwin Rowell said they would increase Uganda’s mobile phone users from the current 1.2 million from the country’s estimated 27 million people, promising to drive competition and slash prices.
“We will be getting operational by the end of this year,” saidRowell shortly after securing the license. He said: “We will be targeting to double the current subscription by end of our first year of existence in this country with a progressive economy.
Licensing authorities here revealed that HITS plans to invest US$343 million in GSM operation, but are yet to be allowed to build new mobile infrastructure. Rowell revealed HITS is to invest US$150 million of private equity already raised, and plans to inject another US$50 million for setting up the Ugandan network.
The Saudi Arabia company joins a market where South Africa’s MTN is already controlling a 67 percent stake. Other competitors include Celtel, with 33 percent market share, and Uganda Telkom.
HITS has GSM operations in Saudi Arabia and Yemen plus a broadband service in Nigeria, the only other African market they have invested in.