Uganda’s Internet Traffic Spikes to 138.5 Million GBs.

by Christopher Kiiza
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The use of internet in Uganda soared from 91.4 million gigabytes (GBs) in March 2022 to 138.5 million GBs in March 2023, making a remarkable 51% surge, according to the latest market performance report released by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) for the quarter ended March 2023.

“The 12 months ending March 2023, internet traffic experienced a remarkable 51% surge, soaring from 91.4 million GBs in March 2022 to 138.5 million GBs in March 2023, where fixed internet traffic grew by 48% and mobile internet traffic grew by 51%,” the report reads in part.

As a result of this growth, the average internet service usage per subscriber reached 5.10 GBs in the quarter ending March 2023, compared to 3.88 GBs in the same quarter of the previous year, indicating a significant rise in data consumption.

The combined 138.5 million GBs posted by the telecommunications networks in the three months that ended March 2023, represent a 9.2 million GB growth in comparison with internet traffic of

129.3 GBs recorded at the end of December 2022.

For the first time in the industry, the spike in internet traffic is inconsistent with seasonal traffic drops that always follow the November and December annual traffic peaks.

UCC attributed this to the continued adoption of internet usage amongst households, enterprise businesses and SMEs resulting from the benefits that come with last mile fixed internet connections.

In month-on-month terms, the industry posted an internet usage average of 1.7 GBs per user per month in March 2023, and this has been consistent with December 2022 and June 2022.

UCC attributes the spike in internet traffic to the continued adoption of internet usage amongst households, enterprise businesses and SMEs.

This reflects a steady increase in the use of internet, increasing popularity of streaming services, increasing use of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram among others which consume a significant amount of data, and the increasing use of mobile devices which are now the primary way that people access the internet.

Data remains a significant revenue earner for telecoms, only next to voice.

In the quarter ending March 2023, the market observed a 3% growth in domestic voice traffic, with a total count of 17.6 billion minutes in domestic talk time.

“Of these, 0.2 billion minutes were off-net whereas 17.4 billion were on-net minutes. At the end of March 2023, the growth observed in the off-net segment (15%) outmatched that of the on-net voice traffic segment (3%) by 5 times.”

This may be indicative of the behavioral/consumption changes as consumers gradually switch from the on-net only voice centric bundles to the all-bundle (off net – on net combos) value prepositions offered by the different mobile network operators.

On a year-on-year comparison, the market has posted a 7% growth in domestic voice minutes from

16.4 billion minutes in March 2022 to 17.6 billion minutes in March 2023.

Mobile Money transactions

In the three months ending March 2023, the industry recorded 1.44 billion mobile money transactions, up from 1.40 billion transactions at the end of December 2022.

This also is the first time the market has posted a positive net addition between the 4th quarter and 1st quarter of the year.

The growth is associated with a spike in transactions like Person to Person (P2P) transfers, utility and merchant payments, gaming and school fees payments.

In the three months ending March 2023, the industry recorded 1.44 billion mobile money transactions, up from 1.40 billion transactions at the end of December 2022.

In comparison to March 2022, the industry posted a net addition of 249 million transactions, from 1.2 billion transactions to 1.44 billion transactions.

in the quarter ending March 2022. This represents a 17% increase.

USSD TRAFFIC

The mobile financial spaces adoption of cashless payment sessions has led to 10.7 billion USSD sessions in the industry, representing a 6% increase from the 10.1 billion sessions recorded in December 2022.

“Some of the services in which we observed USSD transactional activity in the quarter included mobile banking and balance check, school fees payments, utility bill payments, prepaid mobile recharge, money transfers, mobile top-up, booking and reservations,” the report reads.

The quarter ending in March 2023 has witnessed a significant 29% increase in USSD sessions, growing from 8.3 billion sessions in the corresponding quarter of March 2022 to 10.7 billion sessions.

Telecom Sector Revenue

On matters of revenue, the telecom industry recorded quarterly revenues of Shs1.34 trillion, with a net addition of Shs58.4 billion in comparison to the Shs1.30 trillion of March 2022.

The gross revenue performance is a combination of earnings from voice, data, infrastructure lease and other communication services excluding mobile money revenues.

“Revenue generated from Mobile Voice and Data Services continues to dominate the telecom market, followed by tower leases revenues.”

In year-on-year terms, the industry grossed Shs1.34 trillion in March 2023 from Shs1.1 trillion in the corresponding quarter ending in December 2022. This is a net addition of 17% In gross revenue in the first quarters of the year.

Tax Contributions

“At the end of the three months ending March 2023, the industry recorded a total of Shs430.9 billion. In composition terms, 47% of the total tax contribution came from local excise duty, closely followed by Value added tax at 30%,” the report reads.

23% of the other total tax contributions came from different revenue lines such as VAT on imported services.    

christopherkiiza2016@gmail.com

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