Africell exits Uganda due to "long-term commercial outlook"

08 September 2021 | Melanie Mingas

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Pan-Africa MNO Africell is to exit the Ugandan market, ceasing operations by 7 October.

In a statement released Tuesday, Africell said it had worked closely with the government and Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) on confirming its decision.

The details of this were not disclosed, however, GSMA has been notified on the termination of roaming partner agreements.

Africell UG's statement read:  "Africell’s decision to leave Uganda is based on a careful assessment of the long-term commercial outlook for the business and its fit within the overall group strategy of driving digital transformation in the communities we serve."

Africell said its broader group strategy is to "drive a digital transformation in the communities we serve", and that leaving Uganda "is the most sustainable way to fulfil our overall mission to advance the African telecoms sector through competition and innovation".

Explaining how the business will wind down over the coming weeks, Africell UG said all its mobile sites will be returned to the third parties who lease them. Network technology equipment will be transferred where possible within Africell group, while the operator's mobile frequency and spectrum holdings will be returned to the UCC.

The business is "working directly with the UCC and other local mobile network operators" to oversee the migration process for its subscribers who will need to change providers.

On jobs, the operator employs around 60 people who will all be made redundant during the transition. However, there is a plan in place, which has been approved by the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and, according to Africell, "well exceeds minimum statutory requirements". Reports claim it includes severance, repatriation, and continued employment until November.

AfricellW added: "We are committed to being respectful to and transparent with our employees. We are providing benefits to employees designed to mitigate the personal and psychological impact of their job loss and help them secure new opportunities as quickly as possible."

Africell entered Uganda in 2014 by through the acquisition of Orange's operations in the country. Africell Group's plan to launch operations in Angola remains in place with a deadline of year-end.