Smile Communications gets Uganda telecoms licence


South African-based low cost telecoms firm Smile Communications has been awarded a telecommunications licence by the Ugandan government, Uganda's communications minister said last Tuesday. "Smile Communications have been licensed four weeks ago in Uganda," John Alintuma Nsambu told Reuters in an interview.

Smile Communications (Pty) Ltd, led by former MTN Group director Irene Charnley, plans to provide affordable communications to the poor and will target expansion opportunities across Africa and the Middle East.

Smile plans to offer free telephone numbers and voice message boxes to customers whether they own a handset or not. A customer will be provided with a secure PIN code to use on any Smile Communications phone. Smile Communications will operate through agents, which provide mobile handsets in street kiosks, stalls and payphones.

The company is owned by a consortium of Saudi Arabian investors, Charnley and South Africans Paul Savage and Sharron Vanessa Naidoo.