MTN Uganda recently changed some of its short codes of loading airtime and checking airtime balance and today the telco regulator UCC has used its mandate as derived from the Uganda Communications Act 2013 to invoke section 41 (1) (a) and section 41 (2) (b) of the Uganda Communications Act and imposed a fine against MTN Uganda for breach of communication directives and non-compliance a charge of UGX 5 billion ($ 1.7 million). This figure represents 0.5% of MTN Uganda’s gross annual revenue of MTN Uganda.
MTN’s repeated defiance was in particular the directive to desist from using short codes 157,169, 178, and 183. In addition,UCC has ordered all Telecoms to deactivate all unregistered SIM cards with immediate effect or else similar punishment awaits them. The Commission further withdraws 58 short codes from SMS content providers.
Other areas of the audit where MTN was found non-compliant include:
- Compliance to licensing terms and conditions
- UCC Regulations, directive, standards and other orders issued or adopted by the Commission
- Network performance
- Customer handling mechanism
- Billing platforms
- Anti-competitive behaviours
- Subscriber data confidentiality
Accordingly, the Commission promised to impose stringent corrective measures ranging from reprimand and directing for solutions with specific time frame in the areas of breach. The commission added that similar audits for UTL, and Africell are ongoing.