UCC to discuss network failings with telecom chiefs

30 Jan 2012

The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) will meet with representatives from the nation’s telecoms operators to discuss deteriorating service quality, reports local news source Daily Monitor. On the agenda are infrastructure-based issues such as service interruptions and network failures, as well as more customer-oriented problems, including ambiguous charges on bills and irregularities with mobile money services.

UCC executive director, Eng Godfrey Mutabazi commented: ‘Telecoms [companies] have grown their subscription[s] but have not cared to grow their capacity so as not to interrupt customer services. Unless telecoms [companies] work on expanding their capacity to meet the growing subscriber numbers, communication might in the near future become worse.’

As previously reported by CommsUpdate, a UCC quality of service (QoS) survey carried out between May and September last year showed that of the five cellcos examined, all dropped more than 2% of calls, and three – MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda and Uganda Telecom – blocked more than 10% of calls: a blocked call is a failed call attempt due to network failure, whilst dropped calls are those which have connected successfully but are terminated prematurely by the provider. During the UCC’s previous QoS survey, in December 2010, Warid Telecom performed the worst of all the country’s telcos; the most recent analysis indicated significant improvement from the UAE-backed company, reducing the proportion of blocked calls from 25.8% to 8.8% whilst dropped calls were reduced from 8.0% to 4.2%. Warid’s progress was the result of improvements to capacity and coverage carried out by Chinese vendor Huawei in June 2011, lending credence to Mutabazi’s assertion that infrastructure developments are the answer to Uganda’s service woes.