The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has announced its first 5G spectrum awards. Reports suggest that a little over 68% of available 5G spectrum has gone to market leaders MTN Uganda and Airtel Uganda.
It was in late May that the UCC published an invitation to interested parties to apply for radio spectrum under a competitive multi-band award process for the deployment of broadband services in Uganda.
The operators involved had to pay an initial commitment fee of up to US$1.5 million if they planned 5G deployment using more than one frequency band.
Submissions were received and evaluated, after which Airtel Uganda and MTN Uganda won an amount of spectrum that corresponds to 25 out of 37 available blocks.
According to TeleGeography's CommsUpdate, 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.
Bids from Uganda Telecom, Lyca Mobile and Intracom seem to have failed. A number of blocks – in the 700MHz and 3.5GHz bands – were not awarded.
In May we reported that the UCC was looking to complete the spectrum allocation process by mid-August this year – based on the reservation process being over by 21 July – but the UCC seems to have completed the process over a month ahead of schedule.
Airtel confirmed back in February that its network was fully 5G-ready. MTN is involved in a five-year strategic partnership with Huawei to carry out a 5G-capable core network modernisation project.