This follows the firm’s launch in Tanzania, mid last month.
According to Smile Group CEO Irene Charnley, “True 4G LTE was chosen since it is the only standard which evolves continuously to meet the fast-expanding information, communication and entertainment needs of the people of Uganda.”
4G LTE promises improved user experience due to enables ultra-high-speed internet access, stimulating digital innovation and accelerating broadband penetration. Smile expects it to deliver services with unparalleled speed, reliability, quality and ease-of-use and at affordable rates.
Fiona McGloin, Country Manager of Smile Uganda, “Based on feedback and usage data from our commercial customers, there is clearly an increase in demand for broadband access and services. In the past month alone, we’ve seen significant growth in our customer numbers and data usage. Smile is poised to capitalise on this demand and to raise customer expectations by delivering a better, faster, easier, and more reliable internet experience.”
Uganda has seen breathtaking growth in mobile subscriptions and internet use, but overall internet and broadband penetration rates remain relatively low. “This,” says Charnley, “presents us with a huge opportunity for growth. As the internet becomes more ubiquitous and more accessible, people in Uganda have become accustomed to high quality and consistent service. True 4G LTE is the only way to meet these expectations.”
In contrast to ADSL (which provides average data speeds of 1 Mbps) and existing 3G networks (with average speeds of 3 Mbps), Smile’s true 4G LTE technology allows customers to experience data download speeds of 6 Mbps on average.
In simple terms, a Smile customer is able to do more with Smile 4G LTE broadband without any buffering or latency. Smile will introduce 4G LTE MiFi to the Ugandan market. MiFi (which stands for “My Wi-Fi”) allows up to 10 users with any Wi-Fi enabled smartphone, tablet, Kindle or laptop to connect to the internet through a single MiFi device and experience the full benefits of 4G LTE.
Smile’s MiFi devices will come equipped with rechargeable batteries, providing 4G speed and quality irrespective of electricity supply.
Charnley points out that the introduction of 4G LTE broadband in Uganda represents a considerable investment, reflecting Smile’s confidence in – and commitment to – the Uganda market. “From today, Uganda officially joins the ranks of the most advanced countries in the world which are at the forefront of the digital revolution. Years from now, I believe the introduction of 4G LTE networks will be seen as one of the turning points in the development of East Africa and the continent as a whole. In barely an instant, our governments, businesses and communities will be able to reach out to one another easily and inexpensively, using the best, fastest and most reliable technology available anywhere in the world.”
Smile recently announced the extension of its agreement with Alcatel-Lucent to serve as Smile’s sole LTE network provider in three of its East and Central African markets.
Alcatel-Lucent is providing comprehensive Design, Build, Operate and Managed services for Smile’s national LTE networks in Tanzania, Uganda as well as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
Daniel Jaeger, Vice-President of Alcatel-Lucent in Africa said: “We are very pleased to accompany Smile to extend their 4G LTE services in Africa. After the recent launch in Tanzania, and now in Uganda, high speed wireless broadband becomes a reality, it will allow consumers to benefit from true high added-value services of 4G LTE technology.” He added: “Alcatel-Lucent has deep and global expertise to meet service providers’ challenges, and the introduction of the Alcatel-Lucent LTE solution by Smile in Uganda will make a significant contribution to the country’s economy in all sectors”
Today’s launch comes in the broader context of Smile’s strategic vision, which is to provide affordable, high-quality and easy-to-use broadband internet access and communication services to everyone across Africa, using low cost and innovative business models and the latest technologies. The company has a presence in five countries across Africa, including Uganda, Tanzania, the DRC and Nigeria.
Smile’s true 4G LTE broadband network is currently available throughout Kampala, with a national roll-out plan to include all regions within 5 years. The network is also configured to handle HD voice services, which will be rolled out as affordable voice-capable LTE handsets become available.