Africell has confirmed that it is exiting Uganda early next month.
“Africell has decided to leave Uganda and focus on other opportunities for social and commercial impact. Doing so is the most sustainable way to fulfill our overall mission to advance African telecom sector,” the telecom company said.
It added, “the decision was made in the long term interest of the Ugandan telecom sector.”
In a statement released to its employees, the company said it has over the past month conducted a detailed assessment of the future of Africell Uganda. Unfortunately, it realized that it was struggling to be on top of the situation not only in terms of mobile services but also community impact and the digitally lead transformation of society.
“We believe that the opportunity to achieve this impact is incredibly limited. We have therefore taken the difficult decision to permanently end Africell Uganda operations.”
“Africell will stop services on 7 October 2021 and the last day of employment with Africell Uganda will be 30 November 2021. Africell will clearly communicate the transition in respect to its employees and clients,” Africell said.
The company further pledged to award severance pay, unused annual leave allowance, repatriation pay, training and support from a dedicated onsite professional.
“We understand that all employees have unique personal circumstances and the Human resource office will be in contact to explain specific packages for employees. As of 8 September 2021, Africell will not accept new customers. In the next month, the company will be helping current customers to switch to other service provider,” Africell said.
Established in May 2014, Africell Uganda acquired the majority stake that Orange Telecom owned in its Uganda cellular network. Africell paid $12 million for that stake, inheriting an estimated 1,000,000 subscribers.
In November 2014, the Group announced investing US$150 million in the next 5 years, to upgrade its network in Uganda.
According to estimates, Africell’s subscription base had between 2014 and April 2020 grown up from one million to 3,000,000 subscribers.
Reports indicate Africell Holdings, the parent company of Africell Uganda, 2018 secured a loan of US$100 million from the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), to expand operations in the East African country and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Apart from Uganda, Africell Holdings maintains subsidiaries in other African countries like the Gambia, Sierra Leone, and DR Congo.