African telecom operator Africell has decided to exit the telecom market in Uganda as it faces tough competition from the likes of Airtel and MTN, media reports said. Africell entered Uganda in 2014 after acquiring France-based telco Orange’s operations in the country.
In a statement, Africell said, “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 company said its services will stop on October 7, 2021. The London-headquartered telco failed to expand in the country against MTN, which is over 10 million subscribers in the country. Africell had 2.3 million subscribers in Uganda.
In an internal memo to staff that was leaked, Africell said, “After careful consideration, Africell group has decided to leave Uganda and focus on other opportunities for social and commercial impact. Doing so is the most sustainable way to fulfil our overall mission to advance the African telecom sector. Although Africell regrets the immediate impact this decision will have, we believe it is a justified long-term transition and we are closely supporting affected employees and customers.”
Operating in Africa since 2001, Africell now has more than 12 million subscribers in Gambia, Sierra Leone, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda. The telco is planning to launch its services in Angola by the end of this year.