MPs decry exploitation of Ugandans by telecom companies

Uganda Telecom Limited network outages

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Members of Parliament (MPs) have tasked government to prevail over telecommunication companies that are charging exorbitantly for services which is affecting communications countrywide.

The MPs voiced their concerns on Thursday 23, September 2021 following a presentation on the state of quality of telecom services in the country by the Minister of Information Communication Technology and National Guidance, Chris Baryomunsi.

The minister in his presentation observed that there was limited coverage of communication services as the communication network infrastructure is only available mainly in urban centers but also that there is signal degradation caused by interference from other radio communication sources such as illegally installed signal boosters.

“These unauthorized boosters amplify the radio signal noise causing signal interference to mobile networks of duly licensed network operators and this is affecting the quality of service,” he said. “A public warning against the sale, installation and use of signal boosters without prior authorization from Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) was issued.”

Baryomunsi says enforcement against this is underway in a collaborative exercise.

He also noted the other challenges like substandard devices and network capacity among others.

However, Members of Parliament (MPs) raised concern over continued exploitation by telecom companies with Ugandans paying more in data but receiving less, and paying much in voice bundles and receiving less.

Naboth Namanya, the Rubabo County MP says that although students are studying online, when parents procure data, it expires in a short time, which also applies to phone calls.

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He says some parts of the country like Kigezi are cut off from the internet and even radio stations. He says the situation is made worse by tax on internet.

Workers MP Dr Abdulhu Byakatonda says the communications sector in the country is faced with several challenges like costs, connectivity and inequality among others.

Vincent Obong, the Lira West MP says Ugandans are being cheated by telecom companies from mobile money deductions to cost of calls and data.

Flavia Rwabuhoro, the Kyegegwa district Woman MP says that there are several challenges in her constituency in access to radio, but also the only community radio there is being troubled by Uganda Communications Commission.

Santa Alum, the Oyam Woman MP says that there is a big challenge of connectivity in various parts of Lango, and the government needs to make a commitment to improve on this.