The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) has awarded 5G-capable spectrum to the country’s two main mobile network operators (MNOs), MTN and Airtel. MTN won frequencies in the 700MHz, 2.3GHz, 2.6GHz and E-band (71GHz-76GHz/81GHz-86GHz) ranges, while Airtel was successful in the 800MHz, 3.5GHz and E-band ranges. The licences come with a number of coverage and data rate targets. Both MTN and Airtel have already stated that their networks are 5G-ready, and a commercial launch can be expected as soon as licences become valid. The regulator had been expected to name the winning bidders next month but has fast-tracked the process. Three other firms applied for frequencies but were unsuccessful, namely Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), Lyca Mobile and Ala Technology (trading as Intracom). The process, based on operators’ five-year investment plans, allocated 68% of the spectrum that was initially made available (excluding the E-band), with blocks left unawarded in the 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands.

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