By Richard M. Kavuma
On April 1 this year, MTN Uganda changed its pre-paid platform
to enhance its leadership position in the market. According
to Chief Technical Officer, Francis Kazinduki, the old platform
had reached its capacity limitations.
The same platform had been used since the company’s
arrival in the market six years ago, and could only support
a maximum of 500,000 subscribers.
But with MTN Uganda achieving momentous growth, controlling
68-70 percent of the local mobile telephone market, that capacity
had become inadequate. With a client base of more than 600,000
subscribers now, it was time for change.
Said Kazinduki of the old platform: “It couldn’t
handle more customers, and at the same time it was limited
in the functionalities it could handle.”
Planning for the new platform started three years ago. Engineers
at MTN Tower reckon they have about the best technology on
The new platform has an unlimited capacity. “This means
that as our subscriber base grows, we are able to keep upgrading
our system. It is rich in feature so we are able to offer
a variety of services to our customers,” said Kazinduki.
It has a segmented market with high, middle and lower-end
user offerings. The benefits of the new platform are already
coming to the subscribers, with the increased product portfolio
to include such offerings as YellowMax, YellowGo and PayGo.
Until this year, Kazinduki says, mobile customers were limited
to a narrow range of products – Pay as you Go and Talk
Time. With the new developments, subscribers have more choice.
“The feedback is very good since April. People are
very happy. They pick what they want and we continue improving,”
he said. MTN has also been making technologies easy to use
for all its subscribers. Instead of the voice-based method
of checking one’s credit, for instance, the technical
team came up with a system where a customer keys in a few
digits, a method that is more convenient and less error-prone.
Customers are also able to get airtime from their friends
and relatives by using the simple Me2U innovation, without
The uptake of new customers on the MTN network has been high,
with gains of more than 150,000 customers since April 1.
The new facility also houses a new fixed line switch with
an enhanced capacity. It is a converged system, supporting
both prepaid mobile and fixed lines.
It has allowed an expanded product portfolio for fixed lines
and already MTN fixed line customers are enjoying prepaid
services, which were previously only available to the mobile
On the focus of MTN Uganda’s technical team, Kazinduki
spoke of a determination to consolidate the mobile telephone
customers, who stand at more than 600,000.
“We are also vigorously consolidating our fixed-line
and data solutions beyond the normal data-centric solutions
through technologies to support high rate data transfer,”
Already, the company has invested in an extensive fibre network
project that can support highgate data throughput. This will
enhance MTN’s capacity for multimedia, videoconferencing
and other solutions with high bandwidth requirements.
Even though the company is a clear market leader, it is
not about to sit back. Kazinduki says MTN is very innovative
and will be strengthening its push into data uptake.