TELECOMS

Orange Launches GSM Network in Uganda

France Telecom, through its Orange brand has launched a new network in Uganda. Last October, France Telecom took over the national GSM license held by Hits Telecom Uganda after buying a 53% stake in the firm.

The Orange network will be further expanded, not only in terms of coverage but also in terms of services and technologies. A 3G broadband services will also be offered in the next few months, following the planned upgrade of the network.

Commenting on the launch of operations, Orange Uganda CEO, Philippe Luxcey said: "We are very excited to be able to enrich the lives of Ugandans by providing simple, innovative communications products and services, with unrivalled value and a clear focus on customer care. We are also proud to contribute to the economic development of Uganda”.

Hits Telecom Uganda major shareholders were based in Abu Dhabi, and the company had been awarded a full telecommunications license, which includes the GSM 900/1800 spectrum, WIMAX broadband, international gateway, mobile virtual network operation and data transmission services.

The country has five mobile operators, the two incumbents UTL and MTN while Zain (formerly Celtel) was licensed in 2005. Warid launched its network last February. According to figures from the Mobile World database, the country ended last September with around 7.5 million mobile subscribers - representing a population penetration level of 24.6%.

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