Uganda Telecom and West Indian Ocean Cable Company (WIOCC) have partnered to offer high speed internet, shaking up a market where data services are increasingly encroaching on the voice market.
Officials from the two companies said their new internet service will be cheaper than what is offered on the market. Otaremwa Otuhumurize, the company’s management support officer, said the partnership with WIOCC will assist the company’s drive of widening connectivity and will boost the availability to deliver high-capacity internet.
“We will now be able to deliver high-capacity mobile broadband via our microwave radio and fibre optic network infrastructure,” he said during the launch of the initiative in Kampala.
The announcement comes at a time when government is trying to turn around the company, which remains under receivership.
Government advised all agencies to utilize UTL’s data network to reduce their costs and help the telecom firm back on its feet.
Otuhumurize noted that data prices in Uganda are the most expensive compared to other countries in the region, and that through the partnership, UTL will have to cut its prices.
“This partnership will close the data gap. Rwanda, Kenya and Burundi charge $50 per megabyte-per-second, yet telecom companies charge up to $300 per megabyte-per-second. At UTL, we sell at $100 per megabyte-per-second. Our target is to get to $50 per megabyte-per-second before the end of this financial year.”
WIOCC is jointly owned by 14 major African telecommunication companies, including UTL. UTL owns 9.13 percent of WIOCC.
Mustapher Ntale, manager, Liquidation at Uganda Registration Services Bureau, which is in charge of managing UTL, said UTL’s investment in the company (WIOCC) is enabling it to purchase 7.5 gigabits – megabyte-per-second (GBPS) of internet connectivity on competitive commercial terms.
“We believe when we purchase internet at good prices, this will allow us to pass on the coefficiencies to our consumers in Uganda. This will also give UTL the ability to implement significant improvements in price, quality and quantity of internet in Uganda,” Ntale said.
James Wekesa, WIOCC’s chief commercial officer, said the company provides a range of core wholesale services to carriers, internet service providers, over-the-top-players (OTT) and content providers throughout Africa.
“WOICC supports UTL on its transmission backhaul between Mombasa and Kampala. Also, the company provides UTL with quick restoration options through an alternative route in case of interruptions in traffic on its fully redundant operations,” he said.
WOICC’s network includes 55,000km of terrestrial infrastructure and also investments in over 60,000km of submarine cable assets.