Following news last week that Airtel Uganda had received its 5G spectrum allocation from the government after its successful bid in an auction earlier in the month, rival operator MTN Uganda has confirmed the country’s first live 5G network. MTN announced on Friday (28 July) that it had switched on 5G sites in the Kampala districts of Lugogo and Bugoloobi. Both MTN and Airtel had previously stated that their respective 4G networks were ‘5G-ready’ and they were awaiting the spectrum allocation in order to push ahead with a 5G service launch.

PC Tech Mag cites Sylvia Mulinge, CEO of MTN Uganda, as saying: ‘We’re incredibly proud to go live with a 5G network in Uganda, and we firmly believe that this cutting-edge network service will play a pivotal role in driving ICT solutions for economic growth and fostering unparalleled digital experiences for all Ugandans.’ The telco plans to upgrade all its mobile sites to 5G over the next two years, with full coverage of central Kampala within twelve months.

At auction earlier in July, 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. Three other firms applied for frequencies but were unsuccessful, namely Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), Lyca Mobile and Ala Technology (trading as Intracom).

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