High cost of internet, smart devices frustrating Uganda’s digital transformation journey- Minister Baryomunsi

High cost of internet, smart devices frustrating Uganda’s digital transformation journey- Minister Baryomunsi
Caption not available

The Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi has said the high cost of purchasing smart devices like phones is still frustrating Uganda’s digital transformation journey.

“We have made advances in terms of embracing technology and I am sure Ugandans appreciate the situation today is not as it was 10 or so years ago. We have addressed issues of connectivity and extending internet to various parts of the country but there are a few challenges like the cost of smart devices like smart phones, Ipads and laptops which is still prohibitive for some sections of society,” Dr.Baryomunsi said.

He was speaking during the opening ceremony of the 67th meeting of the governing council of the African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI) at  Imperial Golf View Hotel in Entebbe.

AFRALTI is an Inter-Governmental Organisation that was established in 1991 to support ICT development efforts in Sub-Saharan Africa by developing human capacity in ICTs through training, consultancy, and research.

Baryomunsi said the high cost of smart devices has frustrated a number of people from accessing digital services.

The Uganda Communications Commission Executive Director, Nyombi Thembo said the high cost of internet is another challenge frustrating Uganda’s digital transformation journey.

“The cost of internet is very high because technology is growing at a high speed and telecom operators have to invest in this technology like 5G, 6G and others. However, the capacity of 5G and 6G is very high and if the telecom companies are to recover money, they have to charge highly to recover their money.  Therefore, telecom companies are investing a lot in order not to be left behind but the uptake of internet is still very low,” Thembo said.

He said that the penetration of smart phones is also still very low which also means the uptake of internet is still very low which means cost has to be high for internet.

“In Uganda the penetration is only at 20% and when this penetration rate is very low, the cost will remain high for data. Whereas this cost has gone down to per $60 Mbps per month, we need to reduce it to at least $20 Mbps per month.

Not all is lost

The Minister for ICT, Dr.Chris Baryomunsi said government is doing whatever it takes to bring down the cost of smart devices as well as internet.

“ One of the steps we are taking is taxation by waiving off a number of taxes but also encouraging technology companies to manufacture and assemble most of these devices within the country,” Baryomunsi said.

He said at least two companies including Simi Mobile in Namanve Industrial Park and Mione in Mbale Industrial Park have started assembling phones locally.

“They are assembling mobile phones locally and selling them cheaper than those we import. This will ensure penetration of smart devices can increase so that even local people can afford them.”

The UCC Exectuvie Director said Uganda will at the end of the ongoing meeting assume chairmanship of the governing council of the African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI) as an opportunity to take forward the country’s digital transformation journey.

“Institutions like the African Advanced Level Telecommunications Institute (AFRALTI) are very important in terms of capacity building of our people in getting speciliazed knowledge and research to get on top of the learning curve. This is what AFRALTI does. We are therefore proud to have taken chairmanship of the council until next year,” Thembo said.

He said as chairman, he will build on the successes  of his  predecessors but also look out for new areas ,especially capacity building in data analytics.

 

Reader's Comments

RELATED ARTICLES

National Theatre hosts cultural day celebrations
news By BillClinton Nuwahereza
10 hours ago
National Theatre hosts cultural day celebrations
Feffe Bussi’s ‘Hip-Hop Ku Nalubaale’ triumphs at Munyonyo
entertainment By Kenneth Kazibwe
13 hours ago
Feffe Bussi’s ‘Hip-Hop Ku Nalubaale’ triumphs at Munyonyo
Another feud hits NUP leadership
politics By Hakim Kanyere
14 hours ago
Another feud hits NUP leadership
Uganda to host African liberation day celebrations
news By BillClinton Nuwahereza
14 hours ago
Uganda to host African liberation day celebrations
LATEST STORIES

Illiteracy hinders agricultural growth in Uganda: report
agriculture By Ramson Muhairwe
8 hours ago
Illiteracy hinders agricultural growth in Uganda: report
Miss Tourism unveils new regional leaders
tourism By Samuel Muhimba
8 hours ago
Miss Tourism unveils new regional leaders
Man named Christmas fatally shot in Kabale bar scuffle
uncategorized By Lukia Nantaba
9 hours ago
Man named Christmas fatally shot in Kabale bar scuffle
Molly Katanga bail rejection bad for Judiciary
top-stories By Nile Post Editor
9 hours ago
Molly Katanga bail rejection bad for Judiciary