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Africell confirms exit from Ugandan Market

KAMPALA, UGANDA: Telecom giants, Africell Uganda Limited has announced it will be exiting the Ugandan market in October this year after seven years of operations.

“Africell UG will stop services on October 7, 2021. The decision is being made in the long-term interest of the Ugandan telecom sector,” the company announced in an internal memo passed out to its employees.

Last week, DailyExpress reported that the telecom company owned by Africell Holdings (53%) and Hits Telecom Holdings (47) was reportedly closing down operations to exit the economy as the side effects of Covid-19 continue to bite.

Africell Uganda which has been in existence since 2014 when it purchased Orange Telecom that also sought exit of the Ugandan Market due to economic uncertainties has also announced exit of the market citing the same reasons.

“We believe that the opportunity to achieve this impact is increasingly limited. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to permanently end Africell UG’s operations in Uganda,” the company said further revealing that they can no longer achieve the dream of impacting through a digitally-led transformation of society, hence the need to pull out of the market. ”

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At the time of its launch, Africell inherited an estimated 1,000,000 subscribers from Orange Telecom, and this number at the time of its exit has grown to over 3,000,000 in 7 years, according to the company’s subscriber analytics.

“As of September 8, 2021, Africell UG is no longer accepting new customers. In the next month, we will be helping current customers switch to other operators,” the company said further.

The company however assured its employees that whereas it ceases operations in October, their last day for employment will be November 2021 and will be paid all their due emoluments.

“In addition to a full salary and benefits during your notice period, Africell UG will offer you severance pay and payment of unused annual leave allowance,” the company told employees.

The company noted that each of the employees would be contacted by the human resource manager to explain their specific packages.

“Although Africell regrets the immediate impact this decision will have, we believe it is a justified long-term transition and we are closely supporting affected employees and customers.”

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Africell has been the third-largest telecommunications company in Uganda by customer numbers with the company majorly specializing in offering 4G fast internet service and affordable data packages in the country.

Africell’s imminent departure follows the exit of Smart Telecom which closed operations in Uganda at the end of last month.

Smart Telecom, owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), indicated that the effects of the Covid-19 was the last straw that broke the camel’s back.

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