The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) has asked all persons with claims against Africell to immediately contact the telco to work out arrangements to settle their claims before the telecommunication firm exists the Ugandan market on October 7th, 2021.
The commission in a notice dated September 8th confirmed Africell’s plans of exiting Uganda and asked the telco to satisfy several set conditions before its planned exit which is precisely 24 days from now.
In accordance with its mandate under the Act and the Regulations made thereunder, UCC has set several conditions to be satisfied by Africell before her planned exit. The pre-exit conditions are intended to ensure that the interests and rights of Africell’s customers, agents, employees, trade creditors, and the government are safeguarded before October 7th.
Africell has committed to ensuring that all customers, agents, employees, and other trade creditors are paid their claims before the actual date of cessation of operation in Uganda.
The telco noted that it will help its current subscribers switch to other operators—adding that they are working directly with UCC and local mobile network operators to make the migration process as smooth as possible for customers who need to switch to alternative providers.
While for its employees, the telco has a plan that has been approved by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development to support employees during this transition and exceeds minimum statutory requirements. All employees will fully get their salary and benefits during the notice period.
The Commission says its working with sister agencies to ensure that Africell complies with the required laws before exiting.
“The Commission assures all stakeholders that Uganda’s communication sector is resilient and attractive to local and foreign investors, and sufficient measures have been instituted to ensure that Africell’s exit does not negatively affect the stability and integrity of the communication sector in Uganda,” UCC said in a statement.
Africell entered the Ugandan telecom market seven years ago (2014) after acquiring majority shares in Orange Uganda Limited. The company had over 3,000,000 active subscribers offering 2G, 3G, and 4G network controls 7% of the Ugandan market share which is dominated by MTN Uganda followed by Africell.
Africell Holdings held 53% of the stock ownership and 47% were owned by Hits Telecom Holdings. The shareholders have, however, decided to reconsolidate their investments in Africa and have accordingly decided that they do not wish to have Uganda as part of Africell’s portfolio anymore and instead focus on other parts of the world where they have a competitive advantage.
Exiting Uganda, Africell Holdings will now operations in four (4) African markets i.e. Gambia, Sierra Leone, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Angola.
Africell is exiting the Ugandan market citing a difficult business environment.
“In Uganda a country with a mature and competitive telecom sector, we believe that the opportunity to achieve this impact is increasingly limited. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to permanently end Africell UG’s operations in Uganda,” the telco said in a statement.