The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has released its fourth quarter (Q4) of 2018 Communication’s Sector report that shows mobile internet subscription now stands at 14,360,847 up from 13,569,354 in the third quarter (Q4) of 2018 — reflecting a growth of 5.8%.
The same report further states — fixed internet subscription also rose from 8,868,000 to 9,485,000 thus showing that Uganda’s internet market is dominated by mobile internet. Notably, the internet penetration now stands at 37%.
Some of the reasons for the domination of mobile internet is the cost of both mobile phones and internet. Today consumers can buy a smartphone as low as UGX100,000 with the cost of internet starting as low as UGX250.
According to the report, the number of smartphones in the market by end of Q4 2018 was 5,219,729 which grew by 14% in the period of Q1 to Q4. With the growth in smartphones, Ugandans come to realize that these handy devices can make their work/life easier. They can be used in all perspectives from business, networking, school, health among others.
However, owning a smartphone at least you need to have mobile internet. ISPs are trying hard to make internet cheap for its subscribers but a matter of fact Uganda is reported to have expensive internet.
Last week, the Minister of ICT and National Guidance; Hon. Frank Tumwebaze, said with or without OTT, the cost of data remains high. This was in a brief he posted on his Facebook Page airing out his concerns about the levy on OTT.
Today buying internet bundles is Uganda, has to be followed with paying levy on OTT services that if he the consumer plans on using social media. However, majority had stuck to using VPNs and Wi-Fi networks.
The use of VPNs and Wi-Fi has strongly hinder the tax revenue. The government had project to collect UGX284 billion of revenue from OTT in the 2018/2019 financial year but ended up collecting only UGX49.5 billion.
In UCC’s Q4 of 2018 report, OTT tax revenue grew by 2% from Q3. The revenue got in Q3 was 12,696,558,400 and what was collected in Q4 was 12,952,833,800.
URA Commissioner General Ms. Doris Akol attributes the shortfall in OTT levy revenue as to use of VPNs and wireless connections.
While we end this article, we also touch briefly on the growth of mobile subscription. According to the report, UCC says the mobile subscription has grown from 23,135,037 in Q3 to 24,388,744 in Q4. When noticed keenly, mobile subscription has been on a downfall from Q1 to Q3 and is now slowly raising as seen in Q4.