UGANDA, Kampala | Real Muloodi News | Kampala has experienced rapid development in recent years, which has led to the construction of numerous high-rise buildings.
However, according to the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), the city’s growth is causing interference with communication networks, specifically the C-bands used for satellite communication between ground stations and satellites.
A study by American Tower Corporation (ATC) found that the proliferation of high-rise buildings in Kampala is causing poor network signals and as a result, 400 additional towers are needed to improve connectivity.
The towers to be deployed will take various forms such as roof tops, pine trees, and smart poles. The smart poles will use solar energy to provide street lighting and internet access to city residents, according to ATC CEO, Ms. Dorothy Ssemanda.
Ms Ssemanda, while presenting the findings of the study, explained that the 400 towers will be supported by more than 444,000 points of service located at different buildings throughout the city. These points of service will be crucial in providing faster internet and uninterrupted calls to support key services like health and education, and ultimately transform Kampala into a smart city.
“A smart city relies on technology to provide efficiencies that are important for the lives of its citizens,” Ms Ssemanda said.
Ms. Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, Executive Director of UCC, highlighted the challenges presented by the city’s rapid development, particularly regarding C-band antennas which have weak frequencies and cannot penetrate buildings. The proliferation of concrete buildings in Kampala is therefore causing a coverage problem that requires more connectivity to be brought closer, Ms. Kaggwa added.
ATC plans to deploy 185 of the 400 towers on the 5G network, with consideration given to extending the tower reach to Greater Metropolitan Areas of Entebbe and Wakiso.
The company also intends to wire Kampala city with smart poles that utilize solar energy to provide street lighting and internet access to city residents. ATC aims to support the transition of telecoms to green energy and away from diesel.
In 2011, ATC entered Uganda through a joint venture agreement with MTN and established a new joint venture tower company that acquired all existing tower sites from MTN’s operating subsidiary. ATC controlled 51% of the joint venture, and MTN held 49% until ATC fully acquired MTN’s stake for Shs455b in 2020.
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