5 things Africell Uganda is doing that the other telecoms should copy

Africell Uganda SIM cards

Africell Uganda is among the top three telecoms in Uganda in terms of subscriber base (as of September 2018) coming in the third position with 2.1 million subscribers. The first two positions are occupied my usual suspects MTN Uganda (10.7 million subscribers) and Airtel Uganda (10.2 million subscribers). Africell Uganda was established in May 2014, when Africell acquired the majority stake that Orange Telecom owned in its Uganda cellular network.

With just 9% of the total market share as of September 2018, Africell Uganda has managed to stay in the fiercely competitive telecoms business. New telecom companies have come in and bowed out, either selling out to other players or completely abandoning the market.

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However, Africell Uganda is still here and it is most especially because of its offers that rhyme with its “Don’t Be Cheated” slogan. No one wants to be cheated. Right? Africell Uganda has continued to give its subscribers more value for money with succulent offers.

Here are 5 things Africell Uganda offers that other networks only dream of, and should copy maybe.

Free SIM cards.

You have probably heard the loud speakers announcing that Africell SIM cards and registration is free when you move around busy trading centers. Yes, Africell SIM cards are actually free. Whereas this may look like a desperate measure to gain subscribers, it is something that has helped Africell push from the initial 1 million subscribers it inherited from Orange to now over 2.1 million.

If you look at it logically, why make a customer pay a price to join the network yet they are going to purchase your services like data, voice bundles, SMS and pay for mobile money services? Not to say that other telecoms sell lines expensively, but something good and free, no one can deny that. Other telecoms should take note.

Africell Uganda Social Bundles with Paid OTT

As of June 2017, there were an estimated 20.4 million mobile subscribers out of an estimated population of 39.6 million, a 51.5% penetration rate. By March 2018, the number of mobile phone users had increased to 24.8 million, a 70.9% penetration rate. As of 31 March 2017, Uganda had the 18th highest Internet usage rate in Africa (out of 58 countries).

However, the numbers have reduced considerably due to the introduction of a tax on OTT services. According to a Hootsuite report, over 2 million people were shed off from the internet due to the introduction of a tax on social media.

Great news for many is that Africell brought back social media bundles and also pays OTT tax on those bundles. This is a brave move from a smaller telecom that could bring back over 2 million people to the internet, yet the big telecoms still shy away from it.

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4G Specific Bundles.

Africell Uganda recently launched crazy 4G bundles where customers are given more data for less to enjoy the marvelous 4G speeds. While 4G specific bundles (only work when network is locked to 4G) may look like a silly thing, it is truly important to customers especially with affordable 4G supporting devices flooding the market.

Airtel Uganda recently announced countrywide 4G coverage, why aren’t they offering customers something like this?

Cheaper Data bundles.

Many Ugandans are price conscious and Africell understands this. The data competition led to telecoms offering more data at reduced prices, Africell offering double volume data bundles at the same price. The orange and purple network may not have the best monthly data bundles in Uganda but its daily bundles (which many Ugandans use) are very attractive.

Even their Friday bundle (a counter offer to Airtel’s Freaky Friday) is cheaper and bigger than Airtel’s offer. If Africell can manage cheaper data bundles, then other telecoms should copy this and help drive the digital transformation in Uganda.


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