TikTok dominates internet data usage in Uganda, says UCC

TikTok dominates internet data usage in Uganda, says UCC
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Wakiso, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | Julianne Mweheire, Director of Industry Affairs and Content Development at the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), has reported that nearly 50% of internet data usage in Uganda is attributed to TikTok.

Mweheire highlighted that Uganda has 4.4 million TikTok users, who collectively consume 296,470 gigabytes of data per month. In comparison, WhatsApp users in the country utilize approximately 94,494 gigabytes of data monthly.

She observed a significant shift in data consumption trends over the past two years, with a growing preference for video communication among consumers.

Mweheire shared these insights during a four-day Joint Regional Economic and Commercial Diplomacy Retreat held at Serena Hotel Kigo in the Wakiso district.

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The retreat, organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, serves as a platform to assess Uganda’s progress and develop a resource mobilization strategy.

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Additionally, the event brought together Ugandan ambassadors from neighboring countries to discuss strategies for enhancing Uganda’s presence in their respective regions.

Regarding data costs, Mweheire noted a substantial reduction of over 50% since 2019. She stated, “Mobile operators have reduced data prices by 51% since 2019.”

She also compared data prices across East Africa, noting that the cost per gigabyte in Uganda is $0.86, which is competitive compared to $0.76 in Rwanda, $0.97 in Kenya, $1.53 in Tanzania, $40 in South Sudan, and $0.83 in South Africa.

Expanding digital infrastructure and future trends

The rise in data consumption, driven predominantly by TikTok and WhatsApp, underscores the importance of Uganda’s ongoing investments in digital infrastructure.

The government, in partnership with private sector stakeholders, is actively working to expand broadband coverage to rural and underserved areas. This effort aims to bridge the digital divide and ensure more Ugandans can access high-speed internet.

Furthermore, the increasing affordability of data is expected to boost internet penetration rates, which currently stand at around 26%. As more people gain access to affordable internet, it is anticipated that other data-intensive services, such as online education, e-commerce, and telemedicine, will see significant growth.

Also Read: Ugandans using internet for chatting rather than business, worries UCC

Mweheire also emphasized the need for digital literacy programs to help citizens maximize the benefits of internet access. “Empowering Ugandans with the skills to navigate the digital world is crucial for fostering innovation and economic growth,” she said.

The government’s focus on enhancing digital infrastructure and reducing data costs aligns with Uganda’s Vision 2040, which aims to transform the country into a competitive, upper-middle-income economy.

As Uganda continues to embrace digital transformation, the role of platforms like TikTok in shaping communication and cultural trends is likely to expand, further influencing data consumption patterns.

With the ongoing evolution of digital trends, Uganda is poised to witness a surge in content creation and consumption, driven by a younger, tech-savvy population eager to engage with the digital world.