President Yoweri Museveni made the call at State House, to his information and communications technology minister Dr. Ham Mulira, who was at the HITS offices on Clement Hill.
Museveni was excited and impressed as to how clear the network is.
HITS, the fourth national operator, was licensed in March following the end of the five-year exclusive period enjoyed by MTN and Uganda Telecom.
“I am convinced that the new operators will contribute to the development of our telecom infrastructure by deploying the latest technology and the resultant competition will trigger lower and more competitive prices for the benefit of Ugandans,” Museveni said.
HITS, whose major shareholders are in Abu Dhabi, has a full telecommunications licence which includes GSM (mobile), Wimax broadband and data transmission.
The company plans to launch commercial operations by the first quarter of 2008, initially covering Kampala.
Uganda has the second-highest telecom taxes in the world, forcing tariffs to stay high, but it is expected that the entry of new players will increase competition and innovation, which should push prices down.
The company’s calling prefix number will be 079. “Our mission is to be the service provider of choice in high tech telecommunications solutions in the region. Our goal is to deliver value for money whilst creating shareholder value and positively impacting the livelihood and quality of life,” said Tim Bahrani, the deputy chief executive.
HITS is a turn-key project, where Alcatel Lucent, the supplier, hands over a ready-to-use network to the company.
Uganda has over four million subscribers. The total market stands at about 14 million users.
We hope that as many players join the frame in Uganda, and more customers join the telephony Technology, The Government will review its tax policy, and reduce the overall tax burden that is currently prohibitive to the growth of the industry.