Internet users increase to 17 million

Internet penetration in Uganda jumped from 16.4m to an estimated 17.1m users in the second quarter of 2017 representing a 3.7% increase, according to the Uganda Communications Commission which regulates the industry.

The report also shows that Uganda registered a 14.5% growth in mobile internet subscriptions, adding an estimated 1.6m new subscribers. Fixed internet subscription grew by 3.2%, with 4,850 subscribers added during the same period.

“The internet penetration increased from 43.8% to 45.4% (1.6 percent increase),” the report reads in part.

Although UCC does not show reasons for the increase in internet usage in the country, a previous study by e-commerce group, Jumia, pegged the steady growth over the last five years to cheap data-enabled smartphones — especially from China.

“As we move towards a more digital economy, we find that the Ugandan consumer is becoming more sophisticated, with 41% of the population in Uganda being classified as internet users (16.8 million Ugandans),” the report says.

Early this year, Forbes magazine ranked Uganda in the seventh spot of countries with the highest internet penetration in Africa behind Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco and Algeria, respectively.

According to the UCC, the total mobile and fixed telephony subscriptions decreased from 24,034,793 in the previous quarter to 23,993,111 in the current quarter, a drop of 41,682 subscribers, compared to the 3.6% growth realised in the previous quarter.

“This drop has mainly been attributed to the continuous decline in post-paid subscription,” the report says.

Mobile telephone pre-paid subscriptions grew by 689 (0.003%), while post-paid subscriptions dropped by 57,635 (42.3%) compared to the 3.7% increase and 3.1% drop experienced in the previous quarter. The total number of mobile phone subscriptions is 23,529,979 ,up from 23,529,290.

Similarly, fixed telephone subscriptions grew 4.1% from 369,237 to 384,503, compared to the 0.3% growth registered in the previous quarter.