2016 in Review: Airtel Uganda and Smile Communications in Telecoms

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Looks like this year saw telecom companies appointing new CEO’s and Managing Directors. Previously, we saw MTN Uganda and Vodafone Uganda appointing new CEO’s, and this time around we also see Airtel Uganda appoint their new Managing Director.

In our 2016 Airtel Uganda and Smile Communication review, we don’t have much to list but something is better than nothing.

Airtel Uganda

1. Airtel Uganda unveil Anwar Soussa as the new MD

Bharti Airtel on May 6th, 2016 officially announced the appointment of Anwar Soussa as the new Managing Director of Airtel Uganda, with effect from 1 June 2016 replacing Tom Gutjahr – who has been the Managing Director for Airtel Uganda since August 2014.

Commenting on the appointment, Tom Gutjahr during a press conference said; “I am confident that under Anwar’s leadership, Uganda will continue to consolidate its position while providing the best in class services to Airtel customers in Uganda. Anwar will focus on strengthening our external stakeholder relations, consolidating commercial capabilities and help build a superior network.”

Anwar Soussa (Left) shakes hands with the out-going MD Tom Gutjahr.
Anwar Soussa (Left) shakes hands with the out-going MD Tom Gutjahr.

As the new Managing Director in Uganda, Anwar Soussa was expected to provide further impetus to Airtel’s mobile commerce services while ensuring availability of the fast growing data network and providing winning customer service support.

2. Airtel Uganda confirmed partnerships for 2016 CMS Africa Summit

On March 23rd, 2016, PC Tech got confirmation that Airtel Uganda would be part of the 2016 CMS Africa Summit that was scheduled for 1st to 2nd April, 2016 at GEMS Cambridge International School in Kampala. This was Airtel Uganda’s first time to get on board for the Summit while other partners for the event like Google had been a partner for 3 years already.

Airtel Uganda was it's first time to get on board for the CMS Africa Summit.
Airtel Uganda was it’s first time to get on board for the CMS Africa Summit.

As part of the partnership, Airtel Uganda provided a Fiber Optic internet connection that was available to all delegates and also provide 4 premium devices to the winners of the Hackathon.

Smile Communications

1. Smile Communications Uganda revised its bundle validity, and introduced roll-over

Smile communications Uganda on December 19th, 2016 announced it was introducing ‘Data Bundle roll over’ as an option on its anytime, and Night and Weekend data bundles. The announcement which was sent out through an email also notified the public that going forward, the data bundle validity period has been revised from 60 days to 30 days.

Data bundle rollover don’t apply to Unlimited, Daily and Gift bundles. The bundles are available for use for up to 30 days after the initial 30 day validity. Hence a bundle can only be used for a maximum of 60 days from purchase date.

2. Smile Communications has introduced a true Unlimited Data bundle

The PC Tech team received an email that confirmed that the telecom company had sent out to it’s customers which stated that users can experience “Unlimited internet freedom” with no data caps throughout the month.

The Smile Premium Bundle came at a fixed price of UGX 330,000, with Speeds of up 6Mbps with no Fair Usage Policy cap!

Currently, the telecom covered areas of Kampala, Entebbe, Wakiso, Mukono, Mbarara, Masaka, Masindi, Fort Portal, Kabale, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja and Tororo.

3. Smile Communications makes foray into Voice territory with VoLTE service

On March 10th, 2016, the telecom company had been providing internet over their 4G network now made a foray into Voice territory. The launch came at a time when telecoms voice revenues are on a downward trend and with many operators focusing on data, fortunately for them, their Voice service comes with a data-twist.

SmileVoice that was launched at the Smile Communications head office comes in two forms, using a VoLTE (Voice over LTE) capable device or using the SmileVoice smartphone app. Both require a fast internet connection but not necessarily Smile’s internet.

Happy Holidays!!! 

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