Officials from telecom giants, Airtel Uganda have welcomed the latest development to split as standalone businesses; mobile money and telecom operations.
Government last week issued financial service operator licences to Airtel Money to trade as Airtel Mobile Commerce Uganda whereas MTN will operate under MTN Mobile Money Uganda.
As part of the split, whereas mobile money services will fall and be regulated by Bank of Uganda, the telecom operations will continue to be regulated by Uganda Communications Commission.
Speaking on the split, Airtel Uganda Legal and Regulatory Director Dennis Kakonge said the move is a blessing in disguise for the telecom company.
“We welcome it. We see a big more innovation and the customer is going to benefit out of it. It has enabled us to get into direct regulation with the central bank, something we welcome and look forward to providing services to our customers,”Kakonge said.
According to Manoj Murali, the Airtel Uganda Managing Director, the move means that the telecom company is now a payment bank which he said comes with added advantages to them.
“Now that we are a payments bank, we can operate a savings bank where customers can open savings accounts. This licence also allows us invest savings for customers as banks do but specifically in government bonds,”Murali said.
“This is a big step for Uganda since it will see a lot of financial inclusion coming into the sector with this savings bank.”
The Airtel Uganda Managing Director said this will be possible considering the company’s wide network of retail outlets to a tune of 11,000 throughout the country, arguably the biggest among all telecom players.
He noted that in a big to continue improving its services, the company has in the past two years constructed over 400 base stations, adding that they plan to add more than 300 in the next one year whereas they plan to grow their towers from 2116 to 2539 by 2022.