Uganda’s major telecom companies Airtel and MTN have sought partnerships with other companies to sell smartphones on hire purchase.
Airtel Uganda in partnership with d-light Uganda Limited recently launched affordable smartphones intended to extend access to the opportunities of the internet to many Ugandans.
The partnership was recently made at d-light Uganda Limited-Service Centre in Mukono town, located about 30 Km along the busiest Kampala to Jinja highway.
According to Aitel Uganda, the new offer will enable individuals to access smartphones on a hire purchase basis with an initial deposit, and then complete the payment in a period of 365 (One year) days, in which payments are categorized into daily, weekly and monthly amounts.
“Our partnership with d-light Uganda Limited is timely and will enable more people to access the opportunities of the internet without having to pay upfront for smartphones”, says Henry Njoroge Kamau, the Marketing Director, Airtel Uganda.
Kamau says smartphones are like minicomputers that allow individuals to conduct online businesses.
“In addition, the device possesses numerous uses and benefits, gradually, these have driven the growth of different sectors in Uganda and globally. We have a duty to extend these possibilities to many Ugandans because they break the barriers to digital inclusion”, he added.
Douglas Gavala, Managing Director at, d-light Uganda Limited, says they welcome the partnership with Airtel Uganda, which will go a long way in increasing smartphone penetration in Uganda and across the region since communication is a key driver of development.
“d-light Uganda Limited takes pride, in aiding social transformation by collaborating with partners like Airtel Uganda to offer solution-based products and services that improve the livelihood of our people, says Gavala.
On the other hand, MTN Uganda reinforced its partnership with M-KOPA in a bid to avail 4G smartphones at instalment payment terms, as a way of making them accessible to the people who may not be able to pay for smartphones, upfront.
This follows a successful partnership between MTN and M-KOPA that enabled the sale of over 70,000 smartphones on M-KOPA’s fintech platform, which has financed over two million customers across Africa.
Under this partnership, customers can choose from a wide range of up to 11 assorted Samsung and Nokia devices from M-KOPA and finance them for up to one year while enjoying free data from MTN, every day for a year as they use their smartphones.
Customers can opt for a daily, weekly, or monthly payment plan for any of the devices they choose to purchase.
While officially launching the MTN and M-KOPA partnership, Ian Mugambe, the MTN Uganda High-Value Segment Marketing Manager, said that the partnership is aimed at enabling the public to acquire smartphones in the most financially convenient way that doesn’t affect their cash flow.
“With the current digital evolution, a smartphone is more than just a phone. It is an enabler for work, business, education and access to a wealth of information that can help people get ahead in life”, he said.
Mugambe says many people fail to own smartphones due to their high cost of purchase.
“Therefore, by availing of such a flexible payment solution coupled with free daily data, we believe many more people will now find owning a smartphone much easier,” he added.
M-KOPA Uganda’s spokesperson, Brendah Nambalirwa, said the partnership has already proven to be a successful way to accelerate smartphone penetration and digital inclusion in Uganda.
“Affordable payment solutions for our customers, who would ordinarily find it difficult to access credit or save large deposits, can now instantly have a 4G smartphone in their hands and connect to the internet for a myriad of services”, she said.
M-KOPA is a fintech platform that provides connected financing and digital financial services to underbanked consumers across Africa.
As a financing platform, M-KOPA has provided more than $600 million in credit across multiple products and financial services to its customers.
They source their devices straight from the manufacturer, so users are guaranteed a high level of quality for the purchased devices. M-KOPA also sales services for customers whose gadgets may require after-sales care.
Just like M-KOPA, MTN is keen on availing avenues to its customers to access the best possible device deals in the market today.
This partnership closely follows MTN’s repackaging of its daily data bundles to offer customers up to 80 per cent more data at the same existing prices, thus making the internet more affordable by giving customers more value for their money.
Similarly, a recent report from a survey carried out by a global telecom monitoring and testing firm, Rohde & Schwarz, in the last quarter of 2021 ranked MTN’s data as the best in the country in terms of quality of user experience as well as speed, reliability and coverage
This partnership is one of the various customer-centric partnerships that MTN has undertaken with a vision of driving digital inclusion through accelerating smartphone penetration.
In 2021, GSMA, a global association that represents the interests of mobile network operators with over 750 members released a report that highlighted that Uganda had a smartphone adoption of 16 per cent, marked lower than the 30 per cent average for Sub-Saharan Africa.