Uganda Telecom On Rocky Grounds, Ventures in New Direction
Techjaja has learned that UTL has contracted the services of Wenham Carter International; a senior level recruiting agency in the telecom market to hire a new expatriate Chief Technical and Information Officer (CTIO).
The new CTIO will be required to push the company in a new direction that focuses on the Enterprise Market. We’ve been reliably informed that the senior level management of UTL has acknowledged there in ability to compete favorably in the mass market segment due to the cut throat competition from Airtel and MTN, that already have competitive advantage and deeper pockets.
UTL can’t compete in the mobile space anymore
In the new direction, UTL will be prioritizing to strive for market leadership in the enterprise solutions space with a key focus on IT infrastructure and Data centers. It’s important to note that no telecom player has clear cut market leadership in the enterprise solutions space, and that’s why UTL wants to prioritize its efforts with the enterprise market, and have already been backed up by the shareholders to build a Tier 3 Data Centre.
The Managing Director, Mark Shoebridge, and the recently appointed Chief Finance officer have already hit the ground running, and are ready to give their full support to the incoming CTIO with the new business direction.
It’s an open secret that Uganda’s oldest telecom firm has been facing serious financial problems up to a tune of more than UGX 366 billion in liabilities that had threatened a collapse of the company. Mid last year, the Libyan Foreign Affairs minister, Mohamed Dayri revealed that the Libyan government will help sort out the financial challenges affecting to a tune of $56 million
Plans had been made to revitalize UTL’s operations by September 2015, after several protracted closed-door meetings, between the shareholders (including the Ugandan government) who by that time approved a cash injection of about $65m (Shs217b) to investment as a result revitalize operations of the firm by September 2015. Earlier on, telecom regulator UCC threatened to revoked the carrier’s license over defaulting on several obligations – including non-payment of interconnection fees to Airtel and MTN. The company’s liabilities had also outstripped assets by about Shs 146bn at that time with UCC describing it as being in a state of financial collapse.
In January this year, UTL got a new boss, Mr Shoebridge Mark Jude who promised to turn around the company’s fortunes and this would be one of the strategies he has to revive the crippling Ugandan telecom company.