Members of Parliament have urged telecommunication service providers to adopt more friendly data and voice bundles. This will ensure reliable and affordable communication services of good quality, and further Information Communication Technology (ICT) penetration as a key driver of economic growth.

While chairing the House, Deputy Speaker Thomas Tayebwa tasked the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC), the national regulatory body of the communications sector, with engaging these companies to exclusively provide unlimited data and voice call bundles without expiration. He also urged UCC to direct telecom service providers to remove interconnection fees that have created unhealthy monopolistic tendencies, thus making it costly for subscribers to make calls across other networks.

The discussion was premised on the report of the Committee on ICT and National Guidance regarding the petition of Kawempe Division South constituents on the unsatisfactory and unfair services delivered by telecommunication and television service providers in the country. According to the report presented by the committee chairperson, Hon. Moses Magogo, Ugandans continue to pay heavily in their bid to access telecommunication services as demonstrated by the high prevalence of dropped calls, exorbitant rates on data bundles, unrealistic consumption patterns and expiry of internet bundles, to name a few.

The committee recommended that the regulatory body enhance it sensitization of the public on the various data and voice bundles for use, and encourage telecom service providers to provide friendlier bundle subscriptions. Recently, telecom operators have come up with a range of pricing packages that give consumers a choice ranging from time-bound bundles to unlimited bundles without expiration, including the MTN Freedom Bundles, Airtel’s Chillax Bundles and Smile Telecom’s Forever Bundles.

The report also mentioned the poor quality of services in the country due to vandalism and theft of communication infrastructure equipment, as well as the unreliable power supply, especially in rural areas where the country’s largest electricity distributor’s supply is erratic. For television service providers, the committee recommended that a billing policy be issued to regulate the payment structure in order to ensure that pay-TV subscribers are only billed for the time and content they are viewing.

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