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UCC; Vet ZAIN's SuperTalk Promotion & all others PDF Print E-mail

This is a consolidation of a discussion on I-Network Mailing list on UCC; Vet ZAIN's SuperTalk Promotion & all others

Hi Inetters,
i feel that we Ugandans & all ICT users in Uganda need protection from Corporate Exploitation which is now on the daly rise through promotions by the competing Telcos.
Yet these unscrouplous Telcos arent responsible to anyone...be it the Ministry of ICT or to UCC which i believe is the responsible authority of Telecomunications in Uganda.

Based upon this background, i want us to analytically look at Zain's new promotion dubbed ''Zain Supertalk'' Allow me admit that the 50% discount during the day is fine, 
however the problem with this promotion is the so called 90% discount which starts at Midnight and ends at 06:00am.

I believe that almost no sensible person will make calls AT OR AFTER MIDNIGHT AND BEYOND yet that 90% discount ends by 05:59am...if it was an emergency case in the middle 
of the night, with or without the 90% discount, i would make the call lets agree that in the Telcos Sector they have Peak, Off Peak & Discount Rate which is based upon 
hours of the day, Usage response & Season of the Calendar like Public holidays & Weekends....however Supertalk's 90% discount doesnt look into any of this aspect BUT 
endeavours to advertise maximumly hookwinking & unfairly cheatng the unsuspecting & uninquisitive Public.

So UCC, ICT Committee in Parliament & Ministry of ICT, should be start a Regular, Constant & Compulsory Monitoring & Authorising of all promotions in the Telcos Sector for 
both Consumer Protection as individuals and as Organisations before they are released / launched to the General Publc.

Otherwise i believe, it will be very bad to settle this case through the Media or thru writing Petitions to the Speaker or to authorities like the ICT Committee in 
Parlament or others of recent called ''ORDERS FROM ABOVE''

Godfrey Ssali

Highlighted contributions received with thanks from


A promotion is an offer from a supplier of a product to induce you to take his product or service. If you as a consumer do not like the promotional offer you do not have to 
take it. That's the beauty of capitlism. There is another supplier you can go to. So it surprises me that you want promotions to be regulated.

Sometime back the regulators did intervene but this was due to the fact that the promotions rendered the entire service unsable since all networks became congested and thus 
service deteriorated.

In this case you are not obligated to take up any of the offers and if the networks have miscalculated the intelect of their consumers no none would take up the offers. 
However many people seem to be taking up the various offers on hand at the moment.

Regulators under the communications act can regulate on tarriffs if they are deemed to high which under our current environment do not seem to be the case and promotions go 
further to lower the basic tarriff so i'mm confused as to what point you are making.

Writing as a consumer
Badru Ntege


I think your point holds water. Certainly, UCC and Ministry of ICT or any authority, it is its high capacity to do intensive monitoring in all activities carried out by 
telecommunication services before being delivered to the public in order to avoid consumer's exploitation.

However, Ssali, If the way I have understood the combination of these words "no sensible person will make calls AT OR AFTER MIDNIGHT AND BEYOND". I think it is harassing 
people's rights of using the service.

Certainly, I would think that some of reasons why telecommunication companies considering offering cheap/free calls besides of the advertising factor are worth to be 
thought of.

we should consider the following ;

1. Somebody's been in an accident and no any kiosk to buy air time therefore the either free or small units could save the person.

2 . Somebody's in the hospital and needs to be rescued with your blood therefore the free call could help in the night for some one life.

3. Somebody's dead on the roadside and the relatives needs to be informed.

4.Somebody's drunk and needs a ride home to save him for the accident he could cause while driving him/herself back home. "You know well Uganda, we're the best in whole 

5. The owino/St. Balikudembe market has caught fire after midnight and someone knows your phone number but has nowhere to buy airtime to rescue some of you items.

6. Family disputes where your sister was thrown out of home and she has someone with means to rescue her yet with no credit on her phone. Therefore, I can see the free talk 
late night hours from Zain, MTN, Warid or UTL gives a rebirth of your sister.

7. People who are making international calls, make business in the night and needs lot of talking in transacting business.

Therefore to me I don't think it is not the issue of being sensible making calls in the night.

May be it also depends on how consumers use the service in late night hours and that would be the work of UCC or security agencies to intervene but it is fully a good 
service to the consumers basing on above and unmentioned reasons.

I sum up by saying, night late hours free calls is highly magnificent to Uganda's population regardless of whether the person is sensible or lacks that element. Any way 
thanks for your contribution.

Best regards,
John Kyakuwa Nsambu

I thought this promotion would be of benefit to us. The unfortunate part is that we have not even appreciated the reward to customers done by these telcos in recognition of 
their support. i think if we are not happy with they way promos are being run,the best is to advise ZAIN on what to do other than reporting them to UCC. Is it a crime to 
run a promotion? I have been taking sugar and fuel since i started earning,but i have never seen a spoon of sugar or a c.c of fuel form any of the suppliers. Aren't these 
ones corporate companies?
I my vew let's uppreciate the little these telcos try to do to retain their customers in this stuation of tight competition. Let's not kill the sprit of being innovative in 
a competitive environment.

Elijah Tumusiime


Whereas a consumer reserves the right to partake in a promotion, we have to look at these dangling candy closely. I am not insinuating anything as regards the promos by the 
any company at this time.

But we need to look as some questions as regards these promotions. Are there ethical issues? For example, are the messages in the promotions lies? Are they 
anti-competitions? In Europe, Microsoft and other big multinationals have paid heavy fines in anti-trust law suits. Are they exploitative? Deigning promos to stay ahead of 
the pack in business is okay as they are presumed to benefit the customer. However, studies have shown that some promos have inbuilt mechanism that end in a customer paying 
more per unit etc.,

Some promos have been designed like a lottery. So you would ask if our lottery board has a notification about thes products. For example, I have seen some Kenyan companies 
announce an exemption clause accompanying promos.

In this era of consumer activism, promos need to be scrutinized by consumer groups proactively. We do not have a strong consumer lobby group in Uganda at the moment. But 
that is no excuse for questions not to be asked about products in the market place.

It occurs to me that this network has the people who are capable to inform members about the veracity and efficacy of ICT related products. It is a pseudo consumer activist 
network. We should embrace the benefits accruing from it.

I am happy Ssali raised the issue, as in the end, it will remove the speck in our eyes to look more closely at new products and ensure the consumers are not exploited.

Geria Richard


You do have a point but in some countries they have what they call the sale of goods act which kind of refers to the fact that the seller has to not mislead the buyer while 
selling the product. I'm not legal but i doubt that we have anything similar to that in uganda. So what the consumer association would be or should be doing is being able 
to analyse the offers and clearly explain to the consumer.

So the problem now in my book comes down to the absence of an effective consumer body.

Badru Ntege

You do have a Point here and i think we really need a consumers body Many  times when i hear a commercial on Radio the Last part of the Ad goes like "Terms and conditions 
Apply" Many consumers don't  understand that Clause Who can explain that bit to the consumers!

Douglas A. Musunga

All Contributions received with thanks from

Douglas A. Musunga
Elijah Tumusiime
Geria Richard
Badru Ntege
John Kyakuwa Nsambu
Lutaaya Robert
Miyingo Emma
Vincent Mugaba
Brian Ssennoga
Christian Gronlund
Godfrey Ssali
Tim Mwandha
James Wire
Arnold Sentuwa Luwugge

view full discussion here




A contribution from the mailing list on how members should handle complaints with their telecom providers

Dear Paul,

If you would have payed attention earlier, the "Anyone from UTL" on this list is their PR Officer. His name is Mark Kaheru and his email is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

UTL also has a support line that you can call, and probably an email address where you can email them. Mark will most gladly provide these details.

Once you have contacted UTL support, got disappointed, tried again, then tried to contact Mark, then went to the ICT Consumer association http://www.ictconsumer.or.ug/
contacted them, worked out a plan with them, and that plan fails.

Only then.

You write a full report of what happened, what you did to try to solve it, what everyones response was, etc.

And that you email to the 1000 members of the i-network mailinglist, and we shall discuss it as a group.

I would suggest the same goes for MTN, Warid, Orange and ZAIN clients.

And who is that Green 076 company advertising in the paper this morning!?
Please share your customer support details ASAP, before people start complaining about your service here.


Reinier Battenberg

More information on Consumer Protection

How to lodge a complaint with UCC
Consumers should first of all, contact the company, agency or service provider whose services or products they are not happy or satisfied with. In event that the service  provider does not satisfactorily solve the problem, he can now proceed to file a written complaint to the Help Desk, Consumer Affairs Desk (CAD) of the Uganda  Communications Commission in Kampala.

Information on how to access Uganda Telecom help lines can be found at http://www.utl.co.ug/utl.php?i=58

Information on how to access Zain Uganda help lines can be found at http://www.ug.zain.com/en/customer-care/contact-us/index.html

Information on how to access MTN help can be found at http://www.mtn.co.ug/Contact-Information/Contact-Information.aspx

Information on how to access Warid help can be found at http://www.waridtel.co.ug/customerservicecenters.php

Information on how to access Orange help can be found at http://www.orange.ug/orange-care/customer-care.php#orange-care-centers

Laws available on the sale of Goods in Uganda

You can read the Sales of Goods Act 1932 at http://www.saflii.org/ug/legis/consol_act//soga1932128/

Consumer protection Bodies in Uganda today

Uganda ICT Consumer Association - www.ictconsumer.or.ug: - The association is membership based and membership is open to all ICT consumers and stakeholders. The association aims at achieving the following:
1.Providing a collective platform / voice through which ICT consumers concerns can be addressed, for example billing complaints
2.Addressing poor quality of voice and data services
3.Addressing ICT goods and services pricing irregularities that result in loss of money by consumers
4.Evaluating performance of the universal service fund under the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC).
5.Addressing the high failure rate of hardware, for example promotional mobile phones

Consumer Education Trust (CONSENT):- is an independent civil society organisation founded in February 2002 who strives for a socially informed, equitable and just society
through consumer awareness, empowerment, advocacy and advisory services, promotion of ethical practices among businesses and engagement of policymakers to enact pro-people policies for present and future generations. 51 members guide and drive the agenda which is implemented by a team of dynamic, qualified, dedicated and experienced staff. Under a campaign called 'Access to Justice for Social Policy Change' CONSENT collects consumer complaints and concerns as evidence that may be used to campaign for change in national and local social policies and services. 'Pleasure on the Plate Safety in the Mind' is a food safety campaign designed to conduct market surveillance in food markets and eating houses/places, grade them from a consumer perspective and campaign for better food standards and services through a dialogue between policymakers, regulators, businesses and consumers.

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