Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Wasswa Birigwa's achievements: The 1st year of Operation of CelTel had a real impact on Uganda Society

William Kituuka
May 1st 1996 saw CelTel mark its very successful 1st anniversary in the unique and fashionable innovation of the mobile telephone, a sign of progress as well as success.
According to Wasswa Birigwa, the Managing Director (M/D) CelTel Cellular Ltd, the company’s first year of operation had a real impact on society. There was remarkable success beyond the projected planned targets. The headquarter building is up to 2nd floor of construction. Government has bagged huge tax revenue as a result of the operations of the company.
Birigwa says, “The company was started on three pillars, that is ensuring that the company has the best operating network in cellular telephone business, building a consistent customer base and creating and maintaining a customer care system that ensures that the customer’s inquiries, problems and general needs are handled conclusively.
Within one year of operation, the company has reached out to Jinja and Iganga and extensions to Masaka and Mbarara are being worked on and will be operational by the close of the year. Yet, the customer force is no less than 2,500 who are the beneficiaries of the efficient communication, improved services and wider telephone services.
The M/D continues to say that, “the subscriber base continues to grow, customer satisfaction is very good and the company has surpassed the initial set targets.”
The company expressed great interest in the privatization of the telecommunications sector, and there is corresponding interest that CelTel will participate.
January 6th, 1996 was no small a day when over shs 98million was handed over to Uganda Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (UPTC) in respect of the use of UPTC facilities by CelTel. The Managing Director of UPTC; Mr Edward Sempala Mbuga received the cheque handed over to him by Wasswa Birigwa. Mr Birigwa on the occasion commended the mutually beneficial relationship between the two companies.
CelTel’s headquarters at Wampeewo avenue is a 4 storey building when completed and it is Roko Construction contracted for the work. The project is a US $ 2.8m, and to officially witness the commencement of the work at the site was the Mayor of Kampala City Council; His Worship Christopher Iga. The ceremony was colourfully marked with the presence of an earth mover for breaking the ground for the headquarters.
Celtel service is mainly for the top class and successful businessmen, for, the product has much to do with status hence affordability. Individuals are allowed to bring their own sets and charges for International calls tally with UPTC’s. The well equipped and trained employees in all departments are well remunerated. The product is indeed unique, useful and a business asset.
The company’s hardworking is the reason that it was recognized by Uganda Investment Authority for an award in 1995 of a silver medal during the Annual Investors’ of the year awards.
CelTel phones have the advantage of being full time available, accessibility, ensures confidentiality, mobility, security, and accountability. The customer care department handles all customers’ issues especially those related to bills, reception, technical matters and any other information a customer may need to know. This service is open from 7.00am to 7.00pm daily, and contactable on telephone 1100 which is toll free from the mobile phone.
The “CelTel Elite Club”, soon to be opened shall have all customers automatically becoming members. The club shall offer social and business benefits to its members.
CelTel has made valuable contribution to society. Advancement in telecommunications is an indicator of economic progress. So, the cellular telephony in Uganda signifies the country’s advancement and higher productive levels are expected as a result. Second, substantial investment capital has been sank in the project hence creating over 55 direct jobs and hundreds of indirect jobs, yet the tax contribution to Government is substantial. The company has a client with 40 phones and this is the greatest sale so far. However, the greatest disappointment to the company is when the network was off for two days. Since then, provisions have been put in place to see no repeat of the unfortunate experience. The company is ambitious in that it targets having its clients connecting places like Kisoro and Gulu, hence be able to cover the whole of the country. However, the company has a challenge to maintain the best service to the satisfaction of every client.
Celtel cellular shareholding includes among others, Vodafone Mobile systems International, Commonwealth Development Corporation, International Finance Corporation. The colourful celebration of the 1st anniversary was held at the Lion’s Bar Sheraton Kampala Hotel and a picnic at Entebbe Resort Beach.

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