The Alliance Towards Monopoly (AAM), a Pan-African anti-monopoly group has known as upon regulators and lawmakers to behave quick and suppress the rising monopoly and duopoly in Uganda’s telecom business.
The group warns that the monopolies and duopolies are slowly however absolutely choking the nation’s ICT sector, stifling innovation and reversing the positive aspects of the previous 20 years.
This comes on the backdrop of Uganda Nationwide IT Survey 2022 Report by NITA-U which confirmed that the price of entry, was the single-largest inhibitor of web connectivity for a majority of Ugandan companies, households and people.
Dr. Omife I. Omife, AAM’s Continental Advisory director, stated that it’s time lawmakers and regulators transfer in quick and minimize the monopolistic hydra, whose tentacles he says proceed to dam innovation and competitors.
In response to the NITA-U Report, household-level web entry remains to be severely restricted, with 94% having no entry in any respect throughout the nation, with a wider urban-rural divide.
The report additional reveals that 37% of households with out entry cited the price of entry being too excessive, whereas 48% cited the price of the tools being out of attain.
The NITA-U research additionally comes on the heels of one other research, the Surfshark 2022 Digital High quality of Life Index that confirmed that Uganda (116th) is residence to the second-most costly web on the planet, after Ivory Coast (117th).
The corporate, additionally famous that international locations with the costliest web additionally tended to be the least steady with Uganda being ranked a hundred and tenth out of 117 international locations in web stability.
Omife says the 4th industrial revolution is right here and has been right here for a decade and that this technological revolution that’s essentially altering the best way we stay, work, relate and do enterprise with every has connectivity to the web as its core.
“The international locations that make investments considerably in inexpensive, steady and high quality web entry for its inhabitants particularly the youths, academic establishments and its companies will likely be strategically positioned to outpace their friends and emerge as the subsequent powerhouses,” stated Omife.
Omife added, “Sadly for Uganda, this chance may very well be squandered or could also be slowed down by an rising profit-first monopoly by a number of gamers, who’re making it tough for companies, faculties and households to have entry to life-changing inexpensive web,”
He famous that the web, like different important assets and infrastructure comparable to water, power, healthcare, training and transport have to be delicately protected, from the excesses of capitalism.
He stated that it’s high-time legislators and regulators take a eager curiosity within the regulation of the communications sector; each the consumer-facing telecom operators and the below-the-line communications infrastructure suppliers each of whom drastically contribute to the end-user value and expertise.
“During the last decade, market mergers in Uganda and the area have created a doubtlessly harmful ‘cartel’, made up of 1 dominant tower supplier with 90% management of the market and two telecom suppliers with about 95% of market share. These wield a lot energy over the market, bordering on regulatory seize, that it has turn out to be tough for any new gamers to penetrate the market and supply the much-needed innovation and aggressive pricing,” Omife argues.
He additionally particularly known as on legislators and regulators to scrutinise the deleterious merger plan between American Tower Company (ATC) and Eaton Towers being thought-about by the COMESA Competitors Fee saying that the plan which grants ATC Uganda 90% management of the tower market, which he stated is “killer grits of monopoly that will likely be detrimental to the general curiosity of Uganda”.
“We wish to urge parliament and related companies of presidency to not discard the quite a few experiences of infractions and breach of contracts by business gamers as to take action will militate in opposition to the financial improvement of Uganda,” he stated.