Parliament has adopted new regulations proposed by the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) aimed at promoting efficient, economical, and optimal spectrum utilization.
The regulations are expected to improve mobile broadband coverage and facilitate the deployment of new technology, such as the 5th Generation (5G). 5G technology is the next generation of wireless mobile networks with fast download and upload speeds and is expected to enhance technology.
Nathan Igeme Nabeta, the Vice-chairperson of the Committee on Information Communication and Technology (ICT), who presented the report to Parliament on Thursday, 6 April 2023, said that the regulations are good for the country as they will foster spectrum utilization that is efficient, economical, rational and optimal.
“They will also promote the use of ICT in the entire economy and society and facilitate the realization of socioeconomic benefits associated with mobile broadband. The amendment thus paves way for assignment of spectrum to players for enhancement of 4G and deployment of 5G services, ” he said.
The new regulations cover the direct and indirect costs associated with managing and regulating radio frequencies, foster competitive markets, and promote the achievement of national economic and social development goals.
According to Nabeta, the proposed prices were benchmarked against the spectrum auction done by Tanzania and Kenya and are the lowest within the East African region.
“Uganda has proposed to charge $60,000 per MHz on the 700MHz, Tanzania charges $74,600 per MHz and Kenya charges $125,000 for the same,” Nabeta said.
The amendments are expected to ensure that Uganda maintains its competitiveness in attracting foreign direct investment in the telecommunications sector and align the fees with industry developments concerning the use of spectrum.
The regulations were issued by the Minister of ICT & National Guidance in consultation with the Uganda Communications Commission, and according to the committee, are in line with the Constitution and applicable laws.
The House adopted the report of the committee detailing the regulations.