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UCC Probes Airtel for ‘Misleading’ Customers On 4G Capabilities

Airtel Uganda, the second largest telecom in the country is in trouble over concerns that it has been making deceptive claims about its ability to provide a 4G network.

The telecom is now facing a full blown investigation by regulators, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), and has been called to defend itself.

Airtel has over the past months claimed through vast media advertisement, to provide 4G (fourth generation) broadband cellular network, which among others has capabilities to enable amended mobile web access with peak speeds of up to 100megabits per second; IP telephony, gaming services, high-definition mobile TV, video conferencing, and 3D television.

UCC however, says upon its own investigation in different towns, which was prompted by numerus complaints from customers, it found that Airtel’s claims were not accurate.

The public complaints according to UCC, “alleged that Airtel Uganda Ltd was misrepresenting to the public that it is providing a 4G network service across the country, whereas not.”

“Following preliminary investigations conducted in the sampled towns of Kampala, Mukono, Entebbe and Jinja to establish the level of coverage and download throughput of Airtel’s 4G network, the Commission found that whereas Airtel’s LTE signal was available in over 90% of the areas sampled, the network speeds were much lower than what is internationally expected for a 4G network service,” UCC noted in a statement.

As such the commission wants Airtel to provide proof about its 4G Capability claims.

“The Uganda Communications Commission has today, 22nd July, 2019, written to Airtel Uganda Limited, directing the telecommunications company to furnish the Commission with technical evidence on the capacity of its 4G network across the country.”

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The telecom has among others, to furnish the Commission with technical evidence to prove that it provides the claimed 100% 4G network service across Uganda in terms of performance and geographical coverage.

It also has to “Show cause why regulatory sanction(s) should not be instituted against Airtel Uganda Limited for misrepresenting to its customers and the general public about its network quality and speeds.”

All this has to be submitted within two weeks.

The Airtel Spokesmen Mrs faith Bugonzi, who seemed unaware of the UCC Probe, promised to get back to us with comments when we reached her on Monday Evening.

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