MTN renews its Ugandan licence for operation of 12 years in a US$100m deal

UGANDA – Telecom giant, MTN Uganda has announced the payment of US$100m (USh372bn) for renewal of its operating licence for a period of 12 years.  

The two-year protracted battle between MTN Uganda and government seems to have come to an end after the South Africa telecom giants bowed to pressure and agreed to pay US$100 million (USh373.500bn) in license renewal fees. 

“MTN has fulfilled all conditions precedent to the license, including the payment of a total sum of US$100Million license renewal fee for a period of 12 years commencing 1st July 2020. MTN and the Commission will conclude the signature of the License Agreement within the coming days,” MTN Uganda said in their announcement. 

The MTN Uganda License expired on 21st October 2018, and the Uganda Communication Commission later revised the US$100 million assessment to around US$50 million but before the deal was concluded, President Yoweri Museveni halted the license renewal on grounds the fee set by UCC was minimal and ordered UCC to collect US$100 million. 

However, MTN Uganda protested the new fee, prompting President Museveni to ask them to leave Uganda if they weren’t ready to pay the US$100 million. The President further directed MTN Uganda to trade on Uganda Security Exchange, a move that would allow Ugandans buy shares in the Telecom. 

In its statement, MTN Uganda admitted the license debacle noting that although their license had expired, it was variously extended to accommodate conclusion of renewal negotiations which have been ongoing for close to 2years. 

“MTN Uganda is now pleased to announce the conclusion of negotiations for the renewal of its Second National Operator license which expired in October 2018. MTN Uganda provides telecommunications services under a Second National Operator License for the operation of a telecommunications system issued on 15 April 1998 for a period of twenty years,” read in part the statement. 

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