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ugandaTelecomsMTN Uganda and the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) are set to lock horns concerning the commission’s directive to telecom companies to harmonize their three-digit short codes.

Effective December 1, 2014, UCC ordered all telecoms to  start using *130* as recharge voucher number followed by # to recharge, use *131# to check account balance and 100 for customer assistance.

However, by Friday last week MTN subscribers were still using *156# to check account balance and *155* voucher number# to recharge.

MTN general manager for corporate services, Anthony Katamba, said the telecom firm has no plan to harmonise the codes.

He added that MTN has been using its own codes (123 for customer care, 100 to retrieve voice mails, *156# to check account balance and *155* voucher number# to recharge) for over 15 years and that changing them will confuse its customers.

“We cannot effect the directive because subscribers are used to these codes. We got the codes from UCC, and why is it (UCC) asking us to change them now?,” he asked.

There is no point in harmonising the codes because UCC is planning to adopt a Mobile Number Portability (MNP), he noted.

MNP enables mobile telephone users to retain their mobile telephone numbers when changing from one mobile network operator to another.

Fred Otunnu the UCC director for broadcasting said sanctions will be imposed on players who will not comply.

Orange Telecom and Airtel are already using the codes, and Uganda Telecom sent out text messages to its subscribers last week informing them of the new short codes.

Source: New Vision