This week, Uganda hosted the 2017 Capacity Africa Conference that drew a host of international investors and users of ICT products and services for two days. Convergence among the delegates remains on sharing of infrastructure for both voice and data related technology by service providers. Uganda Communications Commission’s Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi, says that institution has since received a strategic report that should allow players share infrastructure in the country.
As major sectors such as telecoms adjust to a shrinking growth, the option of infrastructure sharing as away of reducing their capital and operational costs is being advanced. “There has been a sector working group about infrastructure sharing, which concluded its work about a few weeks ago. And we are going to get stakeholders again to discuss it, do that we agree to formalize it as a guideline which we shall adopt as a guideline towards that policy.” Executive Director, Godfrey Mutabazi, says. “Now remember there is already infrastructure sharing as we speak, informally taking place but we with the blessing of UCC. I will give you an example Africell rides on UTL infrastructure, and they don’t have to have infrastructure in Kabale or in Gulu” he added.
Internet Quality Vs Pricing in Uganda
Broad discussions on the need to share infrastructure for the sector has come strong for this year’s capacity Africa conference that Uganda hosted here in Kampala. The National Information and Technology Authority says it has since allowed different main stream players to tap on its infrastructure.
“Sharing infrastructure out is not a challenge, but like I said the problem comes with the pricing so if we can work that out with the rest of the operators and come up with a pricing that is feasible for everybody that would be a good away forward” Vivian Ddambya Director Technical Services (NITA) said. However, other service providers are of the view that quality and pricing of ICT services must be considered even with infrastructure sharing.
Susan Kitariko CSquared (Google Fibre) Country Manager said that “If you have the regulator setting a proper structure from a pricing perspective checking the quality to make sure whoever is is putting out this infrastructure is actually meeting the guidelines from a technology perspective.” The Ministry of ICT re-assures that from a policy front, effort is also being directed at consolidating services to marginalized areas of the country.
While speaking ate the conference, the Permanent Secretary Ministry of ICT Mr Bagiire Vincent said that ministry is aware of challenges in the sector, which includes; inadequate ICT infrastructure, high costs of ICT services compared to the region, limited local and relevant content and also Uganda has inadequate ICT related research and innovation. The ministry is also dedicated to support and also ensure the above challenges are tackled by the various stakeholders.