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Stakeholders Verbatim At ICT Lobby Group Launch PDF Print E-mail

Internet Consumer Confession:

I work for a company that entirely relies on the Internet. We trade on the international stock exchange in equities, shares, bonds, etc, which requires constant connectivity. But since January this year the company has lost about $15,000 due to poor Internet connections.

 

This is what happened and I think all of us have experienced it. I bought a 3G from Uganda Telecom at over Ush 500,000 and I was convinced that this would give me value for money. 

 


 

First of all, for about 75 percent of the time the connection was either off or working poorly. It always took forever to get technical people to come over and despite these problems I had to pay the Ush 210,000 monthly charge. No compensation at all for downtime. 

 

I remember one time when I called Uganda Telecom over my problem, the staff told me to give them my reference number but I didn’t have it. They insisted that I did. Later they said this is an outsourced service and what I pay for is what I get. I was so angry and decided to change providers.

 

About two weeks later I joined MTN thinking it was better but it is the same. Next I joined Warid which they had convinced me was a better deal. Fortunately, Warid is cheaper at Ush 230,000 and it is doing better than the two.

 

Now I have three modems. When I contacted UTL and MTN to get back their modems and give me a refund, they said ‘goods once

sold can not be returned’. I need to be refunded or compensated.

 

Fortunately, I am one of the few who can come out here and complain. I-Network has helped us to give a platform that has enabled the formation of the lobby Group. We consumers can now do something. Let us not give the service providers a chance to swindle us.

 

Said Charles Bwenvu, director Nile Investments Group International, at the launch of UICPA at Imperial Royale

 

 

Internet Service Provider:

 

The reality is that 3G is just complimentary to the service. It is not full time but an additional service. The service providers are trying their best. They have met all their requirements.

 

You cannot push 3G for what it was not designed to do. It is a shared technology. The providers are not cheating you but doing exactly what they were meant to do. You cannot push it beyond that.

 

I am not trying to defend the operator but you should know that the blame has to start at the top. Who creates the environment for the operator? We shall stand here over and over again and talk, but you should know that the physical capacity of the networks you have would never give you what you want.  Most of you choose the wrong technology.

 

The data world is very different and it is shared. The data specific providers do not have legislation that obligates them to provide the services you want. The environment for ISPs is totally wrong. Why do you think we have no company offering Wimax solutions up to now? It is damn expensive.

 

I am not saying consumers should not complain. But there are two issues here. Education of the products is totally zero. It is pointless to complain when technically the operator cannot even deliver what you want because structurally it cannot be done.

 

We need to go back to the drawing board. We never understood data; we shall never understand it. This is in terms of infrastructure and the service we are buying and the policies that were put in place which are not good for data. The regulation had a flaw and that’s it.

 

Said one of the Internet Service Providers at the launch of UICPA at Imperial Royale.

 

Regulator consumer affairs desk:

 

We welcome all initiatives that will help us perform better. In this sector the blame game will not help us. Each one of us has a task to undertake-the consumer, service provider, regulator and policy maker. I realize that the tactics of shifting blame to another entity all the time will not help us.

 

When we were under the duopoly they shifted the blame to the regulator now it is open and they are blaming the policies. We need to put our acts together because we are all consumers in one way or the other.

 

As consumers we all need to be assertive. You lose a step when you procure goods and services without getting into agreements, which should provide for a redress mechanism.

 

The first responsibility for consumer protection is for them to educate themselves. We also require that service providers educate the public and this should be done by competent people or we shall enforce the issue of false advertisement.

 

Said Fred Otunnu, director communications and consumer affairs Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) at the launch of UICPA.

 

 

ICT policy maker:

 

We have policies that can protect the consumer. The electronic transaction Bill that is in parliament now has an article that mentions that consumers should be protected. We are going to increasingly see people using e-commerce so they have to be protected.

 

Some people say we may need a law to cover consumers’ rights. But we don’t because we have given the roles to different government bodies like UCC for telecoms, UNBS- for imported electronics and the Broadcasting Council for broadcasters.

 

Maybe the policy we have is not right for data. Before liberalization and during the duopoly the focus was on voice that is why we have more telephones and that sector is fairly developed.  We can now comfortably say that voice is done we are now going to data.

 

Said Dr. David Turahi, the director IT management services ICT ministry at the launch of UICPA.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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