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Deputy Speaker Tayebwa Scoffs At Telecoms: How Do You Tell Me That Bundles Have Expired?

Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa.
Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has lashed at telecoms for their continued practice of sweeping airtime and data bundles of the customers after failure to consume the product within the stipulated time.
Tayebwa wondered how dangerous data would be to warrant takeover.
“How do you tell me that bundles have expired? You say they have expired, expired and gone where? Technology has no expiry date. I have seen in many countries, what they do is to require you to reactivate. If I bought MBs using my money and I didn’t use them, how do you say they expired? Something expired is something dangerous, so are my MBs dangerous to my community?” asked Tayebwa.
He made the remarks during debate on report of the Committee on Information Communication Technology and National Guidance on the petition of unsatisfactory and unfair service delivery by various telecommunication service providers in Uganda.
While presenting the report, Moses Magogo, Chairperson Parliament’s Committee on Information Communication Technology and National Guidance said that the complaint on expiry of data featured highly during the probe and when Telecom operator were asked about the matter, the operators argued that they had come up with a range of pricing packages which give a consumer an opportunely to choose either to buy time-bound/ fixed validity bundles or unlimited bundles that do not expire.
The Committee made several recommendations on that matter with Magogo remarking, “UCC enhances sensitization of the public on the various data facilities (bundles) available for use , while encouraging the more friendly bundle subscriptions, UCC should enhance engagements with the telecommunication operators to develop and provide a broad range of facilities (bundles) that will encourage customers to access internet services and call subscriptions.”
The probe on the operations of the ICT sector followed a matter raised on November 2021, by Bashir Kazibwe (Kawempe South) who petitioned Parliament on the unfair service delivery within the Telecom sector among which included; poor quality of service/dropped calls, billing practices for voice calls and exorbitant rates on data bundles, unrealistic consumption patterns and expiry of internet bundles among others.
The Deputy Speaker also raised concern on the high cost of interconnectivity fees among the Telecoms saying most times when is abroad, he has faced embarrassment with many wondering why he carries more than one phone.
He said, “You move to many countries and people laugh at us, asking why do you carry four phones among the western nations, they carry one phone and that simcard can work on all simcards what is important is the reference number embedded and they don’t have interconnectivity fees. Because why are you having fees to connect from MTN to Airtel when you are all licensed?”
Allan Mayanja (Nakaseke Central) backed the decision by the Committee urging Government to revamp Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL) that was sent into receivership due to over Shs700Bn debts remarking, “I also buy the recommendation by the Committee that the national telecom is revamped because if it is revamped it will reduce on cost of the usage to subscribers. Recently, Government is buying shares of Shs202.13Bn why don’t we use that money to resurrect UTL?”
Sarah Najjuma (DWR Nakaseke) asked Government to address the poor network coverage citing areas in Nakaseke where locals are forced to climb trees in order to make phone calls as well as look into the requirement of national ID for simcard replacement which has forced people without national IDs to register simcards in the names of their friends and relatives which poses a security threat.
3 years ago, MTN Uganda launched a range of new data bundles with no expiry date with the most popular one being the MTN Freedom Bundles, which means that MTN data customers can load and use a data bundle for as long as they have MBs, without worrying about expiry.

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