September 18, 2018 / 9:09 AM / a year ago

Uganda to renew MTN Group's telecoms operating licence

People walk past an outlet of South Africa's MTN Group in downtown Cape Town, November 10, 2015. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Uganda will renew the operating licence of the local unit of South African telecom company MTN Group, the state-run Uganda Media Centre said on Tuesday.

The renewal comes with “with new stringent terms,” the agency tweeted, without providing details.

MTN Uganda is the East African country’s biggest telecommunications firm with more than 10 million subscribers and competes with a local unit of India’s Bharti Airtel and other smaller companies.

It launched in Uganda in 1998 after acquiring a 20-year operating license which was due to expire this year.

UCC has been reviewing its application for a ten-year extension of its licence since last year and last month the regulator told Reuters it was asking MTN to agree to list its shares on the local stock exchange as a condition for the renewal.

MTN was not immediately available to comment.

MTN Uganda has faced criticism on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook from some subscribers about data bundles getting used up quickly and the firm not responding to their complaints.

Uganda’s telecoms sector has expanded rapidly over the last decade but analysts say a new tax on social media use could unravel some of those gains by jeopardising prospects for fresh investment in the sector.

Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; editing by Jason Neely and Louise Heavens

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