2016 in Review: Vodafone Uganda in Telecoms

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Vodafone is one of the largest telecommunications companies and provides a range of services including voice, messaging, data and fixed communications globally, operating in 26 countries; Uganda inclusive, partners with mobile networks in 58 more, and fixed broadband operations in 17 markets.

In 2014, Vodafone signed a deal with broadband company, Afrimax, to provide voice and data services under the Vodafone Uganda brand to increase its presence in the country and on the continent, according to reports by New Vision Uganda.

Still in reports by New Vision, analysts continued to point out that the entry of Vodafone Uganda will lead to a spike in competition with existing telecoms MTN, Airtel, Smart, Smile and Orange resulting in price reductions.

Vodafone Uganda now offers 4G-LTE high-speed broadband data services in the greater Kampala area and a nationwide 2G/3G voice service with a vision to empower everybody to be confidently connected.

Our 2016 Review of Vodafone Uganda in telecoms shows us what the telecom company has been up-to this year:

1. Vodafone Uganda shifts focus from Voice to VoIP

On November 17th, 2016 Vodafone Uganda introduced their Chat+ app that allows it’s users to make free High Definition app-to-app voice calls, send free messages to other Vodafone Chat+ users and enjoy High Definition video calls. As well as share files such as pictures, video clips and music on the go. However, Video Calls and content transfer are charged at normal Data rates. Looks like the company [Vodafone Uganda] shifted it’s focus from Voice – a market that’s already crowded with many players and dominated by MTN Uganda – to VoIP, via an app that has it all.

According to Vodafone Uganda, they claimed that the purpose of the app wasn’t to compete with the heavy weights of the Instant Messaging and Chatting business, but to lock in student communities and allow non Vodafone customers to try Vodafone quality of data services, although the Chat+ app offers some functionality competitive to WhatsApp, Skype and Messenger.

The app features; Free app-to-app Voice Calling and Messaging, Free Group Calling, Video Calling, and File Sharing – Documents, photos, music, videos, voice notes. (Standard data rates apply)

2. Vodafone Uganda’s #Icreatetomorrow competition winners head-off to London

Vodafone Uganda announced three winners of the #ICreateTomorrow competition – artist and student Darsan Ainembabazi, filmmaker Chris Lutanga and health care administrator Cathy Namubiru – who departed for London on a once in a lifetime trip.

Darsan Ainembabazi (L), Chris Lutanga (R) and Cathy Namubiru (C)the Vodafone I create Tomorrow winners depart for London. The digital campaign was geared towards inspiring and empowering the youth to take charge of their future.
Darsan Ainembabazi (L), Chris Lutanga (R) and Cathy Namubiru (C)the Vodafone I create Tomorrow winners depart for London. The digital campaign was geared towards inspiring and empowering the youth to take charge of their future.

According to John Ndego, CEO Vodafone Uganda, during a press conference said that, the purpose of the #ICreateTomorrow campaign is to connect new people and new ideas, to inspire Uganda to build a future that we’re proud of.

During their time in London, the lucky winners were each given a chance to visit key tech hubs, influencers and leaders in their respective fields, equipping and inspiring them to build and brighter tomorrow.

3. Vodafone Uganda’s ‘For G’ promotion

Vodafone Uganda in one of their new promotions this year, dubbed “For G Offer” gave it’s users a special deal of you getting 4GB data for a life time and a discounted Vodafone Mi-Fi.

To get the offer, you had to recommend three of your friends via the Vodafone For G offer portal and you automatically qualify to receive an offer of 4GB of data for UGX 40,000 – for the rest of your life. Adding to the excitement, the Vodafone Mi-Fi was discounted to 30,000 UGX from 170,000 UGX.

4. Vodafone Uganda reveals a digital first approach to support SMEs

Reports have shown that Uganda is the youngest and most entrepreneurial country in the world. According to the 2014 census statistics by Uganda Bureau of Statistics, the youth (persons below 30 years of age) constitute 78% of the population. These numbers, according to John Ndego; CEO Vodafone Uganda, represent a huge potential for the country to turn a tide in technology and innovation and Vodafone Uganda would like to be part of this journey.

On November 10th, 2016, Vodafone Uganda during a press conference that was held at Kampala International University (KIU) announced a commitment to support the youth and entrepreneurs in Uganda.

“The major focus for Vodafone Uganda will be on digital, using the power of internet to tap into the younger generations’ potential and help them build their tomorrow today,” Mr. John said during the press conference.

5. Vodafone Uganda calls-off their unlimited data bundles offering

Getting so used to unlimited data bundles is interesting, your given at a good offer, good speed; let’s assume 5mbps, and so forth, untill when your ISP decides to scrap off the offer. Vodafone subscribes had to settle for another data bundle or alternatively Switch to another provider, when the company decided to call off their “Unlimited Packages.”

The unlimited Vodafone Uganda's data packages/plans before they were pulled out.
The unlimited Vodafone Uganda’s data packages/plans before they were pulled out.

Our team was reliably been told that the company was in the process of introducing different data bundle options, though none of them will be Unlimited.

6. Vodafone Uganda urged the tourism industry to embrace technology

The fifth edition of Vodafone Uganda’s power talks focused on on leveraging technology for tourism. According to Vodafone Uganda’s CEO Allan Richardson, the fifth edition of the Vodafone Power Talks featured success stories from the East African region, and also identified new and better digital marketing platforms that can be adopted by various players in the tourism and hospitality industry to boost both the country’s image and deliver better investment returns for their businesses.

During the event that was held at Kampala Serena Hotel, players in the tourism and travel industry were advised to embrace new technology in order to boost their businesses and further develop the industry in the country.

PICTURE CAPTION: (3rd Right) Derrick Sebbaale; the Chief Technical Officer of Vodafone Uganda and the (2nd Right)Jackie Namara poses; Head of Marketing at Vodafone Uganda pose for a photo with (R-L) Steven Asiimwe , Amos Wekesa, Rosett Rugambwa, Kelly MacTavish, Phillip Kalibwami, Belinda Namutebi, the panellists of the 5th Vodafone Power Talks that was held on 28 July 2016 at Kampala Serena Hotel. Vodafone Power Talks is an initiative aimed at bringing together key players in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem to share knowledge and experiences on the transformative power of ICT in different sectors.
PICTURE CAPTION: (3rd Right) Derrick Sebbaale; the Chief Technical Officer of Vodafone Uganda and the (2nd Right)Jackie Namara poses; Head of Marketing at Vodafone Uganda pose for a photo with (R-L) Steven Asiimwe , Amos Wekesa, Rosett Rugambwa, Kelly MacTavish, Phillip Kalibwami, Belinda Namutebi, the panellists of the 5th Vodafone Power Talks that was held on 28 July 2016 at Kampala Serena Hotel. Vodafone Power Talks is an initiative aimed at bringing together key players in the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) ecosystem to share knowledge and experiences on the transformative power of ICT in different sectors.

According to various reports online, showed that; at least 15% of room nights are now being booked online on a mobile phone, while a 2010 poll from Eye for travel, a leading research company on Internet focused travel, indicates that 7 out of 10 travelers use the internet as their primary source of travel information resulting in almost half of the world’s travel being distributed and booked online.

Uganda is fast becoming a leading tourism destination and the progressive SMEs involved in this space will have to be more innovative in the way they use technology to redesign tourism products to address individual needs, satisfy consumer wants and grow their businesses.

7. Vodafone Uganda appointed a new Chief Executive Officer

After MTN Uganda bid farewell to their CEO; Brian Gouldie, on July 13th, 2016, Vodafone Uganda also announced their new appointment of John Ndego as their new CEO effective from 11th July, 2016, replacing Allan Richardson, who returned to the Afrimax Group office in preparation for the next market launch following the recent launch of operations in Ghana and Zambia.

John Ndego, appointed as the new CEO of Vodafone Uganda with effect from 11 July 2016.
John Ndego, appointed as the new CEO of Vodafone Uganda with effect from 11 July 2016.

His appointment came one year into the entry of Vodafone in Uganda and at a crucial time in the telecommunications industry in Uganda, with data services poised to dictate the pace of growth in the years ahead. However, according to Vodafone Uganda, it was well placed to take advantage of the opportunities and to benefit more broadly from John’s considerable commercial and strategic experience.

Happy Holidays!!!

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