Kampala Consumer Watchdog Activists propose law to clamp down on Telecom companies with poor services


The state of telecom services in the country has risen concern among a certain section of the population. Last year UCC came out and declare MTN to have the best network quality, but it seems by far the case since their clientele are still crying fowl.  A Client rights Activists under a newly born umbrella, called the Kampala Consumer Watchdog, have today presented a petition to the speaker of parliament calling for tougher legislation to protect Ugandans against exploitation by telecom companies.

The lead petitioner Justus Amanya, told the speaker that due to Uganda’s weak laws, telecom operators have taken advantage to exploit unsuspecting subscribers, who often lose money and airtime for no service offered. This also includes multiple billing, dropped phone calls, poor network signals, inconsistent data, loss of airtime and unsolicited messages are listed as some of the inconsistencies in service delivery through which Ugandan subscribers have been robbed. He further accused the regulator UCC), of scheming with telecom operators to defraud subscribers.

As an example, he mentioned MTN Uganda accused the firm of cheating subscribers of airtime for 25 seconds for each minute according to an audit conducted on the firm’s billing system. Amanya said:

“We are looking at that user in the countryside who does not even know where to complain from. We are basically trying to protect the ordinary user in the countryside. In countries like Kenya and South Africa, appropriate laws have been enacted on the operation of telecom firms, charging fines for operators that do not meet minimum standards.”

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Amanya led an internet based campaign last year after enormous complaints from people who lost data bundles to MTN in one of its worst data service failures. Thousands of subscribers had experienced multiple data bundle activation failure, multiple charges, delayed data bundle loading, failed activation and inaccurate data bundle billing. MTN claims to have refunded most of  it’s clients after the incident was sorted.

Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga  was open to the idea of the law and added that a private member would be selected to take on the matter.