Media Centre

Press Release

10th May 2022, Kampala, Uganda


Since early February 2022, Smile’s customers in Uganda may have experienced slow internet speeds or no access to Smile’s internet services.

Smile’s Management apologises to all customers and stakeholders who have been inconvenienced and will ensure that customers with unused balances, as a result of the service outage, are fully compensated.

The cause of the ongoing service outage is fundamental and arises from a dispute between Smile and one of its critical suppliers. The parties, unfortunately, failed to reach an understanding, and as the matter is essential to both Smile’s past and future operations, this was laid before the Courts of Law and is expected to be concluded on or about 21st June 2022. Details of the impasse cannot be divulged as the matter is pending before Court.

The Court process notwithstanding, all attempts are being made to settle so that Smile’s network is restored even before the Court rules on the dispute.

The regulator, UCC, has been closely following up with both parties to ensure the return of services to our subscribers and has assisted where it can, for which Smile thanks them.

Smile would like to reassure its customers and stakeholders that it will not relent on its efforts to have services restored at the soonest and our commitment to providing quality services to all its customers remains unwavering.

Smile would like to thank everyone for their patience and ongoing support.


Press Statement

22 February, 2022


Since early February 2022, Smile customers in Uganda may have experienced slow internet speeds or no access to Smile’s internet services.

Smile Management would like to apologize to our customers, especially those affected. We want to assure you that we are committed to restoring our service as soon as possible. As a token of our sincere apology, we will refund data to all those Customers who had data prior to the downtime.

“We will keep our customers informed and want to thank our customers for their patience and ongoing support. We look forward to serving you more efficiently in the future,” Smile Management.


21 May 2019


Mauritius, 21 May 2019

  • Ahmad Farroukh, Smile Group Executive Director Operations, appointed as Group CEO
  • Irene Charnley, founder of Smile, appointed as Deputy Chairman

Smile Telecoms, a Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, today announces the appointments of Mr. Ahmad Farroukh as Group Chief Executive Officer and Ms. Irene Charnley as Deputy Chairman, respectively, effective 1 June 2019.

Ahmad Farroukh, who currently serves as Smile’s Group Executive Director Operations, is a seasoned and experienced telecoms executive with a distinguished record of commercial and operational success. Mr. Farroukh’s vast experience extends to executive management positions at Investcom Holdings and the MTN Group (where he served as CEO of MTN Nigeria, MTN South Africa and Group Chief Operating Executive, responsible for 19 countries) and immediately prior to joining Smile, as CEO of Mobily, Saudi Arabia’s second largest telecommunications operator. Given the extent of the opportunity and the significance to Smile, Ahmad will spend the majority of his executive time in Nigeria.

Hailed as one of Africa’s most successful business leaders, Smile Telecoms founder and shareholder, Irene Charnley has led the Company’s innovation and pioneering of Africa’s first 4G LTE network infrastructure, using low band spectrum in 800MHz band. thereby revolutionizing the way people in Africa accessed high speed internet. After 12 years at the helm, Ms. Charnley will now serve as Deputy Chairman for the Company and will fulfil a strategic role.

Commenting on the announcement, Mohammed H. Sharbatly, Smile’s Co-Chairman and Group CEO of Smile’s majority shareholder, Al Nahla Group of KSA, said “The Africa telecoms market is as dynamic as it is challenging, and Ahmad is suited to lead Smile’s next exciting phase of growth, as we have transitioned from a spectrum rich upstart to the fastest, most reliable data gigabyte factory in Sub-Sahara Africa. We are equally delighted that Irene will continue to serve the company she founded as Deputy Chair, and we look forward to her ongoing strategic direction and guidance.”

“The next phase for Smile will focus on delivering excellent operational returns, achieving profitability and creating value for all stakeholders, and I believe that Ahmed is best suited to lead the Company forward in this regard”, added Irene Charnley.

“Africa is experiencing explosive data growth, and I am honoured to have the opportunity to lead the operations of one of the continent’s best 4G LTE networks at this exciting time. It has also been a revelation after over 20 years in the industry to witness the power and versatility of Smile’s proprietary technology applications platform, which was developed in-house and provides a huge competitive and cost advantage,” concluded Ahmad Farroukh.


About Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd

Smile, founded in 2007, is a Mauritius-based Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Africa. The company has one of the largest sub-1 GHz 4G LTE commercial networks in Africa, operating in the “future proof’ low band, 800 MHz band and mid band.

Smile was the first to launch VoLTE on its network and has continued with its innovation, having introduced SmileVoice, which is a free mobile app that enables customers with any Android or Apple iPhone device (including those which are not VoLTE-enabled) to make SuperClear voice calls over Smile’s 4G LTE network. Smile was also the first to introduce an Unlimited offering, which enables SuperFast data and SuperClear voice, all on one bundle.

Issued by:

Nicolene van Zyl

Group Head: Corporate Communications and Marketing



On behalf of:

Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd

10 March 2016


Uganda, 10 March 2016 – today Smile Communications Uganda (“Smile Uganda”) announced the introduction of two 4G LTE innovations to its customers in Uganda – SmileVoice and SmileUnlimited.

Smile is the first operator in East Africa to offer its customers Voice over LTE services, giving them access to the fast growing Global standard for voice and video calling.

SmileVoice comes in two forms; using a world-first downloadable free mobile App that affords customers with Android and Apple iPhone devices the ability to make SuperClear voice calls over Smile’s 4G LTE network, or through the use of a VoLTE-capable handset (such as the latest Samsung devices) plus a Smile SIM card.

SmileUnlimited offers customers 30 days of unlimited access to Smile’s SuperFast 4G LTE mobile broadband service.

Mrs Beatrice Kiraso, Chairperson, Smile Uganda said, “Smile is the first mobile operator in East Africa to develop and introduce Voice over LTE, plus a world first to develop and introduce a free Voice over LTE mobile application that enables all our customers in Uganda, with Android and iPhone devices, to experience high-quality voice calls over Smile’s network. We are committed to improving the quality of voice and data services in Uganda, and with SmileVoice our customers can call anyone locally and internationally, just like on any other mobile.”

“With our recently announced funding Smile has expanded its existing 4G LTE network in Uganda from 3 to 15 towns, and now provides 30-days of unlimited access to SuperFast mobile broadband – there is no other provider that is offering its customers such value and convenience,” says Mrs Beatrice Kiraso.

Elaborating on the SmileUnlimited offering, Mr Steve Bannon, Country Manager Smile Uganda explained that any unlimited offering is subject to a fair usage policy (FUP). Smile’s Usage Policy is very generous and ensures that connectivity will be maintained throughout the 30-day period.

Not only is Smile’s pricing more affordable than that of competitor narrowband offerings, but the superior quality of true broadband also makes SmileUnlimited a fitting application of Smile’s value proposition of speed, quality, reliability and simplicity.

The free SmileVoice App is a world-first, enabling customers that don’t have VoLTE-capable handsets the ability to make reliable Voice over LTE calls when connected to Smile’s mobile broadband. “In the Ugandan market Android is the leading handset and together with the free SmileVoice App, we are ensuring that all our registered customers have a way to experience high-quality voice calls from their mobiles,” says Mr Bannon.

To use SmileVoice, customers will be required to have a registered Smile SIM card and active SmileData service. When out of range of the Smile network, the SmileVoice App will enable calls from any device that is connected to the Internet via 3G or Wi-Fi at home or abroad. Customers who make calls when travelling abroad will be charged their local call rates, as if they were calling from home.

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About SmileVoice

Registered Smile customers can use their one data bundle for SuperFast mobile broadband plus voice calls, video calls and SMSs. All SmileVoice calls are charged in MBs per second to an active data bundle which equates to a UGX/second rate. For example, when a customer has a 10GB Anytime bundle and makes a one minute local call, the customer will be charged 10MBs from their data bundle, which equates to UGX142/minute. The effective call rate of UGX2.4/second associated with the 10GB Anytime bundle is lower than any local call rate in the market! Customers who activate SmileVoice will get FREE minutes and SMSs valid for 30 days to call anyone in Uganda.

About SmileUnlimited

Smile offers customers the convenience to stay connected to SuperFast 4G LTE mobile broadband for 30 days without the concern of being disconnected. The Smile Usage Policy (SUP) applies and when reached a slower speed will be experienced, however access to applications such as email, online banking and searching information on the internet is still available and a very good experience.

About Smile Uganda coverage

Smile Uganda launched its SuperFast 4G LTE mobile broadband services in Entebbe and Kampala in June 2013, thereby revolutionising the way people access the internet in Uganda. We’ve expanded our network coverage and services to 15 towns in Uganda including Wakiso, Mukono, Mbarara, Masaka, Masindi, Fort Portal, Kabale, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja and Tororo, Entebbe and Kampala. Customers in Uganda can experience SuperFast and the most reliable 4G LTE mobile broadband services as well as SuperClear voice calls, video calls and SMSs over LTE, in the country.

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Issued by: Steve Bannon (Email:

Apr 16 2014

Apr 16 2014

Feb 17 2014