A report by Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has said communications equipment is to a greater extent used beyond recommended life span thus affecting efficiency.
The end of life management of communications equipment report noted that some equipment is used beyond its intended life span attributed to replacement of equipment parts and components and regular maintenance.
For instance, while routers have an industry benchmark life span of three and half years, they are used for five years and on in Uganda.
The same applies to computers whose industry life span is three years against the Ugandan four years.
According to UCC, most telecoms are not aware of end of life (EoL) management of equipment.
“It was found that 43 per cent of the operators understand the EoL concept, while 57 per cent do not understand the concept,” the report reads in part, adding; “Both broadcasters and telcoms relied mainly on the technical recommendations from their engineering departments as a result of issues such as damaged, malfunctioned and non-upgradable equipment.”
The research was undertaken to determine broadcasters and telcoms’ electronic waste management in light of an increase in import of equipment.
The data on the importation of communications equipment obtained from URA indicates that equipment worth Shs4 trillion were imported into the country between 2010 and 2017.
Of these, telecommunications equipment worth Shs2.8 trillion, accounting for approximately 72 per cent of the communications equipment was imports.
98.7 million units were imported between 2009 and 2016.
Worth noting is that 57 per cent of the operators had a budget allocated to end of life related activities, while 42.9 per cent did not.
Currently, operators either return e-waste to the seller, sell it to others, store or discard it.
E-waste handling, UCC said, is mostly informal with no specialised handlers in the country forcing it to be handled together with other waste.
However, the handlers expressed challenges such as; limited space for the storage of e-waste, high e-waste transportation costs in addition to limited information on the transboundary movement of e-waste.
UCC is now reviewing operators’ licensing conditions to provide for end of life management of communications equipment along with compliance reports on the state of their equipment.
Ms Sarah Kabahuma, a liaison manager at East African Communications Organisation, told Daily Monitor that there is need for awareness about e-waste and its management in Uganda.