How Uganda Milked MTN of $100 million to renew their Operating License

MTN Uganda operating license

It all started two years ago when the operating license of the South-Africa based TelCom giant expired in October 2018. Since then, the group had operated in the Ugandan market using a temporary licence that it was mandated to renew every six months. The group intended to replace its previous 20-year license with a new 12-year license to operate in Uganda. For about two years, the MTN Group fought through recurrent negotiations to secure a long term place in the Ugandan market.

Interestingly, the negotiations were prolonged due to the adamant refusal of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni to accept MTN’s initial offer for the permits, which was under $50 million. The President argued that the pan-African group could only deliver services in Uganda in exchange for a fair fee.

It is important to note that GSMA Intelligence figures placed MTN Uganda as the biggest operator in the country in Q1, with 13.1 million connections. This shows that one of the biggest telecommunications investment in Uganda hung in the balance while the President stood his ground to obtain what he felt his country deserved. Admirably, Uganda was able to obtain $ 100 million for a 12-year licence in Uganda valid from 1st July. Thus, finally reaching an agreement for a long-term renewal of MTN’s operating licences in Uganda.

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