Unlimited Internet Bundles, What are Uganda Telecom Operators offering?



In the wake of Safaricom announcing that it will be discontinuing the sale of all unlimited data bundle products and that it may focus its energies on fixed data, the question of what Uganda operators are offering comes to center stage.  Safaricom as of 2012 Communications Commission of Kenya (CCK) report is the leading data services provider in Kenya and hence any move it takes may have big implications to the market.  Will other players follow suit in Kenya and Uganda or will they be more innovative in their offerings to high volume consumers?

The Uganda market has some unlimited data packages which cost about 300,000 UGX as of April 2012.  It is claimed by some consumers that sometime it is almost impossible to play a single 5 minute 20MB video with unlimited data package since the video may take 30 minutes to steam which amount of wait time is unacceptable to a user.  Hence the following questions linger in mind; 

1.       Are Uganda operators offering unlimited packages on paper i.e in theory?

2.       Are there details about these unlimited packages that operators hide from customers?

3.       Could it be that the failed video stream is deliberately the operator’s doing and the customer is not made aware of this in the term of services?

Unlimited package for some operators have speeds not exceeding 512 kilobits per second (kpbs). What is not publically known is if there is another data cap coming with these products on the Uganda market such that when you get to the cap you are then lowered further to less speed e.g 128 kbps or 64 kbps.  If this is the case then there isn’t a Uganda operator offering truly unlimited packages in terms of both volume and speed.

For high volume consumers, an offer of high volume packages could be an attraction but currently they are at quite very expensive rates(over 1M UGX for 100GB) if the average individual or family is going to try them. The other option is fixed/dedicated broadband services. Some operators have with an initial cost of over 2000 USD and about 300USD per month for 512kps minimum speed. This initial cost is could still be on the high side if individuals, families and SME are to take on these fixed data products.

With the above in mind and if unlimited mobile 3G packages turn out to be unprofitable(such as for Safaricom’s case) and  tempting operators to provide poor quality of service, shall the Uganda market see more affordable fixed data packages that can be embraced by individuals, families, and SMEs?