The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has ordered local cellco Airtel to provide proof of its 4G network coverage and download speeds. According to a report from Techjaja, the regulator says it has received consumer complaints that Airtel’s 4G network – which is advertised as ‘nationwide’ – is not present across the country, while data transmission rates are lower than expected. The UCC has carried out preliminary testing in the cities of Kampala, Mukono, Entebbe and Jinja and found that LTE-based services were available in over 90% of areas sampled. Its main concern, however, was with the data rates, which it found to be ‘much lower than what is internationally expected for a countrywide 4G network service’.
Airtel has therefore been asked by the UCC to: show technical evidence to prove that it provides the claimed nationwide 4G service across Uganda ‘in terms of performance and geographical coverage’; and ‘show cause why regulatory sanction(s) should not be instituted … for misrepresenting to its customers and the general public about its network quality and speeds’.
Indian-owned Airtel Uganda announced the nationwide availability of 4G services in February this year, claiming to have 1,632 LTE-enabled sites connected by over 3,900km of fibre, covering 95.9% of the population.