ICT

Internet/broadband
Access to internet and data services has greatly improved as a result of competition amongst the increasing number of fibre connections that link East Africa to the rest of the world, e.g. the SEACOM, TEAMS, and EASSy cables. However, retail internet/data charges in Uganda have not dropped as significantly as many had hoped because there is not yet effective backhaul competition and the internal networks to distribute connectivity within the country are still limited in size and lack competition. Quality and availability are also severely affected by cable outages, which often force providers to resort to their earth stations and international satellite links for restoration of services. The operators’ need to maintain expensive satellite restoration capacity feeds directly into the cost of access they offer to retail customers.
Dec-11 Sep-11 Jun-11 Mar-11
On-net
157.6
189.0
168.5
158.1
26.2 28.0
46.3
83.9
Off-net
200 40 60 80 100 120 140 160 180 200
3.5 3.4 3.6 3.5
International outgoing
Billed minutes per subscriber
The rise in off-net traffic reflects the near-elimination of on-net/off-net price differentials
Access to internet and data services has greatly improved as a result of competition and the increased number of fibre connections in Uganda
24
Evidence for ICT Policy Action
Infrastructure-focussed providers are only just starting to emerge with Eaton Towers (who bought Orange’s towers) and American Tower Corporation (a joint venture with MTN) managing mobile network tower infrastructure to complement the infrastructure of UMEME, the Ugandan national electricity utility that rents out its fibre. The company appointed by NITA-U to manage the national fibre backbone will also add to the national supply of internal broadband capacity. It is expected that with these efforts and the trend towards sharing infrastructure, the cost of connectivity both within Uganda and between Uganda and international destinations will decrease further. The UCC estimates that there are currently 4.8million internet users (as of December 2011) across the country, predominantly accessing the internet via mobile phone handsets and mobile 3G and long-term evolution (LTE) modems. Figure 16 summarises the growth trends in both mobile and fixed internet connections, as well as the total amount of bandwidth procured by various providers to serve the country.
Figure 16: Fixed and mobile internet subscriptions as well as bandwidth Source: UCC (2012) In line with mobile’s prevalence over fixed in voice service provision, mobile data connection growth has far outpaced that of fixed data connections in recent years, as shown in Figure 16. In terms of bandwidth, downlink capacity procured by providers is still much higher than uplink capacity, highlighting the dearth of local content and the fact that Ugandans are still predominantly consumers of content produced elsewhere in the world. NITA-U has now embarked on implementation of e-government initiatives, including at the local government level. In addition to boosting direct use by government employees, these initiatives can be expected to increase the number of internet users significantly as more and more government services and information become available online. The other initiative by NITA-U that can be expected to have an effect on internet take-up is its ongoing incubation and promotion of IT-enabled services with specific focus on business process outsourcing (BPO).
Total bandwidth (mbps) Fixed internet subscriptions Mobile internet subscriptions Dec-13 Jun-14 Dec-14 Jun-15 Dec-15
1 000 000
900 000
800 000
700 000
600 000
500 000
400 000
300 000
200 000
100 000
Fixed/mobile subscriptions
5 000
10 000
15 000
20 000
25 000
0
Total bandwidth
18 887
15 739
7 727
5 146
31 508
510 000
610 000
850 200
977 500
27 590
31 000 35 000 84 558 88 7862 050
0
Mobile internet connections far outnumber that of fixed
NITA-U has embarked on the implementation of e-government initiatives and is expected to have an effect on internet take-up
25
Understanding what is happening in ICT in Uganda
According to the 2012 RIA Uganda Survey findings, more people in Uganda are knowledgeable about the internet compared to 2008, but the gap between people knowledgeable about the internet and those who actually use it is still large (as shown in Table 12), pointing to a large potential market. While men and women are comparable in terms of their knowledge of the internet (29.7% v. 24.8%), more men than women are actual internet users (11.8% vs. 3.1%).
Table 12: Internet knowledge and use with gender breakdown
Country Survey
Individuals who know what the internet is
Individuals who use  the internet Men Women Men Women
Uganda
2012 29.7% 24.8% 11.8% 3.1% 2008 9.4% 3.5% 3.7% 1.1%
Kenya
2012 55.6% 35.9% 35.8% 20.5% 2008 39.9% 27.8% 21.1% 11.5%
Tanzania
2012 26.7% 18.3% 3.4% 3.5% 2008 9.9% 8% 1.9% 2.3%
Rwanda
2012 37.2% 35.6% 6.9% 5.2% 2008 6.4% 7.0% 1.8% 2.1%
South Africa
2012 61.4% 43.2% 39.7% 28.6% 2008 56.2% 47.0% 20.4% 11.3% Source: RIA ICT Survey data 2007-08, 2011-12 Note: Individuals included in the 2008 Survey were aged 16 years and older while the 2012 Survey included individuals aged 15 years and older. Internet and data services are increasingly service segments through which operators seek to differentiate themselves and maintain their customer bases. Providers are placing various technologies on offer with a range of packages that are sometimes bundled together with voice services to exploit the increasing use of data-enabled devices (phones, tablets, phablets). Other ICTs
Radio and television continue to play an important role in providing access to communication, as highlighted in Table 13 and Figures 17 and 18 below. In the 2012 RIA Uganda Survey, 12.9% of households reported owning a TV (Table 13), which tallies with the 13.4% that reported being linked to the electricity grid (also Table 13), pointing to the fact that access to TV is hampered by a lack of reliable electricity access.
There is still a large gap between men and women internet users
Access to grid electricity can hamper television access
26
Evidence for ICT Policy Action
Table 13: Household use: grid electricity, radio, TV, computer Main electricity grid Radio receiver TV receiver Computer (desktop or laptop) Uganda 13.4% 76.6% 12.9% 2.2% Kenya 60.1% 80.6% 54.4% 12.7% Tanzania 19.4% 63.1% 18.3% 1.6% Rwanda 15.6% 72.4% 9.0% 2% Ethiopia 18.1% 40.7% 10% 0.7% Ghana 73% 71.8% 54.1% 8.5% Cameroon 64.5% 33.9% 44.3% 8.6% Nigeria 58.4% 69.5% 53% 6.6% Namibia 41.8% 72% 40.6% 14.7% South Africa 89.2% 62.3% 78.2% 24.5% Botswana 60.1% 66.4% 59.4% 15.8%
Source: RIA ICT Survey data 2011-12 It was found that 82.3% of respondents listen to radio and 76.2% own a personal radio that they can use anytime. Figure 17 shows radio listening trends in 11 RIA Survey countries with some countries (Uganda, Kenya, Namibia, Ghana, South Africa, and Cameroon) exhibiting lower radio listening in 2012 than in 2008, while other RIA countries (Rwanda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Botswana) have more radio listenership now than in 2008. A small number (1.7%) of Ugandans reported using their mobile phone to listen to radio – a percentage that can be expected to grow with the increased penetration of radio-enabled handsets.
Radio and television remain valuable ICT devices
27
Understanding what is happening in ICT in Uganda
Figure 17: Radio listeners, RIA ICT Survey countries, 2012 and 2008 Source: RIA ICT Survey data 2011-12 and 2007-08 Television viewing increased between 2008 and 2012 in all but five RIA countries with only Tanzania showing a seemingly clear drop in TV viewing. Viewing remained at roughly unchanged levels in Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, and Rwanda (Figure 18).
Figure 18: TV watchers, RIA ICT Survey countries, 2012 and 2008 Source: RIA ICT Survey data 2011-12 and 2007-08 It was found that 39.7% of Ugandans watch television at home.
Cameroon South Africa Botswana Ethiopia Ghana Namibia Tanzania Nigeria Rwanda Kenya Uganda
61.9%
68.5% 55.3% 39%
87.7% 70.4% 65.1%
68.5%
83.6% 87.3%
30.4%
55.6% 56.2% 57.2% 64.6% 68.2% 70.8% 75.6% 77.1% 81.1% 82.3%
2007-082012
Rwanda Uganda Tanzania Namibia Ethiopia Cameroon Ghana Nigeria Botswana Kenya South Africa
12.9%
27.5% 34.9%
39.2%
19%
53.6% 57%
49.4%
56.8%
69.1%
12.3% 27.2% 31.5% 39.5% 40.3% 53% 57.9% 58.8% 59.8% 66.1% 77.7%
2007-082012
Television viewership increased between 2008 and 2012
28
Evidence for ICT Policy Action
Access to computers continues to be rare in Uganda with only 4.8% of people reporting any computer access at all in the 2012 RIA Survey (a lower level of access than six other RIA countries) and only 35.7% of those with computer access reporting access at home (Table 14).
Table 14: Individual computer access
Country
15yrs+ that use a computer
Locations where a computer is accessed (multiple responses) Work School, university Library At home Internet café
A friend’s place South Africa 29.1% 40.2% 22.8% 6.1% 61.1% 29% 20.7% Kenya 21.2% 36.8% 40.2% 16.9% 56% 68.8% 45.9% Cameroon 15.1% 20.7% 33.4% 7.7% 38% 63.5% 35.9% Namibia 13% 60.6% 36.7% 28.5% 73.1% 28.4% 45.5% Ghana 10% 42.9% 44.5% 6.2% 72.6% 54.4% 24.9% Nigeria 7.5% 45.9% 36.1% 4.5% 73.1% 61.8% 58.3% Uganda 4.8% 45.5% 51.4% 25% 35.7% 57% 60.9% Rwanda 3.5% 54.5% 35.3% 18.9% 59.4% 45.2% 25.1% Ethiopia 2% 34.1% 48.4% 9.2% 23.9% 28.5% 5.3% Tanzania 1.9% 41% 23.6% 8.5% 47.7% 65.8% 27.8%
Source: RIA ICT Survey data 2011-12