UCC consents to reduce licensing fees for Internet

A man uses social media platforms to market his products. The cost of Internet in Uganda is still high. Photo by Eronie Kamukama

KAMPALA- The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), has consented before the High Court in Kampala to reduce licence fees for Internet service providers.

Eight Internet service providers, through their association, Internet Service Providers Association of Uganda (ISPAU), had sued UCC and the Attorney General, for hiking fees.

The hiked licence fees that were in excess of 1,000 per cent, had been set to get operational starting July 1.
“This application as well as all applications arising from the same be and is hereby, withdrawn and each party shall bear it’s costs,” reads in part the consent withdraw order signed by Justice Musa Ssekaana on June 29.

The affected Internet service providers that had dragged UCC to court included; iWayAfrica Uganda Ltd, Liquid Telecom, Roke Telecom, Gilat Telecom, Truit U Ltd, Simbanet Uganda Ltd, the Bandwidth & Cloud servises Group Ltd and Internet Solutions Ltd.

The feud between the Internet service providers and their regulator started in 2017, when the lincensing fees were increased from $10,000 to $30,000 per annum.

Then in 2019, another new fees structure was proposed with the licensing fees being increased to $300,000.
This sparked outrage among the service providers who decided to go to court.
However, after negotiations, it has since been redused to $60,000.

Though their lawyers of KTA Advocates, the core argument of the Internet service providers was that the new licence fees were arbitrarily high.

They submitted that if the new fees had remained so, they would have been forced out of business and yet they are employing many Ugandans coupled with paying a lot in taxes to government.
Further, they had argued that they were not consulted by their regulator prior to coming up with the exorbitant licensing fees.


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