Uganda’s Telcos worried about spectrum allocation


IDG News Service reports that Ugandan telcos have expressed concern about the way the industry regulator has allocated WiMAX broadband spectrum and possible looming increases in the costs of spectrum licences. As it stands the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) charges USD7,500 per year for 1MHz of bandwidth and has allocated 30MHz each to the trio of WiMAX licensees, MTN Uganda, Uganda Telecom and Infocom.

However, the UCC has also allocated spectrum to other parties that are not currently offering services. ‘With the increasing number of operators in the data communication sector including mobile WiMAX, the challenge now is it requires a very accurate and proportioned allocation of frequency spectrum to avoid interferences,’ Hans Haerdtle, the managing director of Infocom said. Eric van Veen, the chief commercial officer of MTN Uganda, said the deregulation of the telecoms sector in 2006 and the proliferation of licences that followed has led to crowding of the market to the point that there are entities that have been allocated spectrum but are not using it or are inactive. ‘As a big operator we are concerned. There has got to be a practical and equitable way of distributing spectrum such that spectrum is given to those players who need it and are ready to offer the service,’ van Veen said.