Between September and November 2019, Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) conducted benchmark measurements of mobile voice telephony and data services in Uganda to assess the Quality of Service (QoS) received by users/consumers of these services.
The operators whose services were considered under this exercise were Uganda Telecom Limited (UTL), MTN Uganda Limited, Airtel Uganda Limited and Africell Uganda Limited.
The measurements were carried out from the end user perspective in twenty (20) towns across the country namely; Mbarara, Kabale, Moroto, Kasese, Hoima, Mubende, Arua, Mbale, Tororo, Soroti, Lira, Kampala, Mukono, Jinja, Masaka, Mityana, Entebbe, Masindi, Fort Portal and Gulu. However, UTL network was not accessible in seven  of the towns considered.
The ratings were judged against the UCC baseline rates of blocked calls at 2%, dropped calls 2% and the success call rate of 98%
According to the survey report, most of the telecommunications companies fell short in terms of the UCC success call baseline of 98% in most of the countries with the worst being Africell Uganda which fell short in Masindi, Kasese, Masaka, Mubende, Hoima and worst in Mityana at 89%. Airtel failed in Aria, Lira, Mukono and Entebbe, MTN Uganda failed in Mbarara, Mubende and Hoima while UTL failed in Kabale and Masaka.
In terms of blocked calls, Airtel performed the worst and had more than the 2% UCC baseline in most surveyed districts including Masinde, Arua, Lira Mbale, Moroto, Kampala, Entebbe, Mityana, Hoima, Soroti and worst performance in Jinja at 34%
MTN failed in Moroto, Mubende, Mityana and kabale, Africell failed in Masindi and Mbarara while UTL failed in Mbale, Masaka, Hoima and Kabale.
On dropped calls, Africell performed worst against the 2% baseline in Masinde, Fort portal, Kasese, Masaka, Mbale, Hoima and worst performance in Mityana at 11%. MTN failed in Mbarara, Mubende, Hoima and Kabale, Airtel failed in Arua, Lira, Jinja, Mukono and Entebbe while UTL failed in Mbale, Masaka and kabale
According to UCC, the reasons for high blocked and dropped network rates include, poor network, poor signal quality, inadequacy in networking management and congestion.
“From the causes highlighted above, it can be deduced that even where coverage is said to exist, there are shortfalls in terms of gaps in the coverage and optimisation of the networks. The Commission has engaged the operators for justification for the findings of the exercise and remedial plans have been agreed to address the short falls in performance,” states UCC
“The Ministry of ICT and National Guidance also issued regulations in respect of QoS that now enable UCC to fine operators over QoS. UCC remains committed to ensuring the availability of quality and modern communication services to foster the realisation of the transformation of Uganda into a modern and prosperous country,” it adds