UCC Summons Airtel Uganda Over its 4G Speeds

Government regulatory body of communications; the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) has summoned telecommunication firm; Airtel Uganda to respond to allegations that its 4G data speeds are not what is advertised.

It is allegedly said that the telco is deluding its subscribers to believe that they are being provided 4G even in areas where it isn’t. UCC raised the flag on the telco following the over complaints from subscribers regarding its speeds even in areas where you would expect 4G to be much stable.

The commission carried out investigation in some areas where Airtel 4G is deployed including; Kampala, Mukono, Entebbe, and Jinja finding out that even though the 4G were available, the speeds were much lower than what is internationally expected from a 4G connection.

The telco has then been asked to furnish the commission with technical evidence to prove that it provides the claimed 100% 4G network.

In a statement wrote, “Consequently, in accordance with sections 45 and 48 of the Uganda Communications Act 2013 and Regulation 28 of the Communications (Practice and Procedure) Regulations 2005, Airtel Uganda Limited has been asked to furnish the Commission with technical evidence to prove that it provides the claimed 100% 4G network service across Uganda in terms of performance and geographical coverage.”

However, the very statement was later deleted by the commission from its website where it had been stated before. We are not aware why the commission deleted the statement, but we believe the telco reached out to the commission and came to an arrangement.

To recall, telco rolled out/launched its 4G/LTE coverage in the country — February this year. The telco claimed to boast a total investment of 1,632 sites and over 3,900 kilometers of fiber across Uganda.

To enjoy Airtel’s high speed 4G network, subscribers were asked to swap their 2G and 3G sims for a 4G sim. It is equally important to note that to use 4G connections, your device has to be supporting 4G LTE technologies.

Airtel Uganda whose strongest competitor MTN Uganda launched its 4G/LTE in 2013 limited to Kampala and Entebbe then by 2015 extended to other major towns including; Mbale, Mbarara, Lira, Arua, Gulu, Kabale, Kasese, Fort Portal, Moroto, Masaka and Jinja. By then Brian Gouldie was the CEO of MTN Uganda.

Since 2013, it took Airtel Uganda, six (6) years to launch its 4G/LTE in a period when most telecommunication firms are thinking of upgrading to 5G.

Recent fallen Vodafone, even launched its 4G before Airtel considering that the Airtel was older than it. However, following their UGX300 billion debt, the telco had to shut down in May 2018.

Airtel Uganda has over 10 million subscribes a milestone their reached in January 2018. Since their acquisition of K2 telecom in August 2018, we believe their subscribers increased to at least 12 million.

The closure of the telecom [K2] was due to its debt of PAYE amounting to over UGX77.8M, debt of local excise duty UGX17M totaling to about UGX95M, as said by Ian Rumayika, the manager public and corporate affairs at URA.

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