UCC Denies Approval of MTN’s Price Changes, Demands Justification

Telecommunications regulator, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has denied having approved recent changes made by telecom giant MTN Uganda in its voice and data tariffs which contravenes the law.

UCC has directed that the telco submits its current schedule of retail prices for all regulated services and products as well as a detailed justification for price changes.

Last week, MTN subscribers woke up to new data tariffs that appeared costly than the previous ones, which sparked off wide criticism on social media.

The fury comes at a time when subscribers across all telecom service providers are frustrated by costly and unreliable internet.

Some subscribers have complained about mysterious data consumption which telcos have not explained.

In a letter authored by the UCC Executive Director, Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi to MTN Uganda last week Friday, the regulator states; “The Commission is mandated under Section 5 (1) (e) of the Communications Act 2013 to regulate rates and charges for communication services with a view of protecting consumers from excessive tariffs and prevent unfair competitive practices.”

Making reference to the Telecommunications (Tariff and Accounting) Regulations Number 27 of 2005, the regulator further notes that all tariffs must be filed with the Commission for approval.

“A preliminary assessment of the current pricing for your retail services indicated that there have been changes in your pricing of voice and data offerings. These changes were never communicated to the Commission prior to their implementation,” the UCC boss wrote to MTN Uganda in the July 7 letter.

By effecting price changes without UCC’s approval, MTN Uganda risks having its operation license suspended or terminated as per Article 18 of the telco’s license.

“The Commission now directs that you submit the most up to date schedule of retail prices for all regulated services and products available on the MTN platforms,” the letter reads.

In addition, the telco has been directed to provide a detailed justification for all price changes implemented in the past 12 months for which the Commission was not notified.

MTN is given up to end of business on Wednesday July 12 to have complied with the directive.

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