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Abstract

The paper aims at mapping out the Mobile Telecommunications Industry in Uganda with a view to identify areas for further research in a systematic and more detailed way. The economic and social upgrading/downgrading conceptual framework to guide the Capturing the Gains research agenda was used in this process. The paper briefly presents the mobile phone domains, emphasising the relevant parts for Uganda, which include; software development, sales and marketing, mobile service provision and end use developmental elements. The paper gives highlights of the growth and explosion of the mobile telecommunications sector in the last two decades underpinning the drivers of this growth, which include deregulation, liberalisation, technology advancement, the growing population and Uganda’s strategic hinterland location. It is demonstrated that Mobile-phone Network Operators (MNOs) in Uganda are owned by companies with strong global value chains, which spread continentally to other African countries, Arab countries and in the case of Orange, France. The MNOs include MTN, UTL, Warid, Airtel and Orange. To provide insights into potential areas for further research on economic and social upgrading, the paper looks at outsourcing, infrastructure and the developmental aspects of mobile phones. The paper outlines areas for further research, which include money transfer, health, agriculture and outsourcing of services by MNOs. Finally, given that outsourcing of some of the services by MNOs is salient, conditions of work in MNOs and the outsourced companies is critical.

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