Citizens Sue Four Telecom Companies over Network Failure

2698 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
The sued telecommunications companies include; MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda, Orange Uganda and Uganda Telecom.

Five concerned citizens have dragged the major telecommunications operators in the country to the High Court in Kampala over what they called continued network failure and disruptions.
The sued telecommunications companies include; MTN Uganda, Airtel Uganda, Orange Uganda and Uganda Telecom.
 Also sued is the communications regulator the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC). UCC has been sued for allegedly failing to supervise and ensure that the telecom operators give quality services to Ugandans.
The five concerned citizens Abel Balemesa, Tito Barugahara, Abdulwahab Mukuye, Aloysius Lubowa and Brian Businge Bruno who claim to be subscribers to these telecom operators, filed their complaint against them on Thursday.
The petitioners claim experience problems like irritating and annoying unsolicited messages, blocked calls, dropped calls, poor signal strength, poor customer services, and traffic congestion.
Other problems that they list are: intermittent and unsteady network availability, incessant and constant outrages, down-times, system failure, crashes, black outs and poor voice quality and coverage.
The concerned citizens say the telecom operators have given them a raw deal as there is no value for their money.
They claim they are entitled to various rights as consumers but in vain. They list some of their rights as; right to have access to basic telecommunications services, right to choose from variety of telecom services available, right to be informed on planed interruptions, right to be opt out of unsolicited interruptions and right to privacy.
Through their lawyers of Nyanzi, Kiboneka and Mbabazi, the concerned citizens claim that due to the malfunctioned systems of the telecom operators, they have suffered loss and damage.
Some of the damages they claim they have suffered are; non-pecuniary loss for annoyance and irritation on account of unsolicited messages, non-pecuniary loss for the wastage for time on account of making repeated unsuccessful calls and excessive tariffs that are not derived from the statutory cost-oriented formula of determining rates.
The petitioners now want court to declare that the four telecom operators breached or failed to perform or comply for the period from April, 2013 to date to provide quality services.
They also want court to declare that UCC failed to exercise and perform its statutory mandate to enforce compliance of the telecom operators to provide quality services to Ugandans.
Subsequently, court has summoned the telecom operators to file in their defense within 15 days before a hearing date can be fixed.