Uganda regulator sets up system to track daily telco revenues, social media tax

Wednesday July 4 2018

An MTN Mobile Money agent in Kampala. NMG

An MTN Mobile Money agent in Kampala. Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) says they have acquired new equipment to monitor the daily revenues of the telecom companies. PHOTO | MORGAN MBABAZI | NMG 

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The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) says it has acquired new equipment to monitor the daily revenues of the telecom companies.

UCC says the new intelligent network monitoring system tracks all the calls of the telecom operators and knows how much they generate daily.

Though the system was expected to monitor only the voice and data aspect of the telecom system, the regulator says it is now monitoring all the transactions of the telecom operators, including mobile money and the newly introduced social media tax.

For some time, MTN and Airtel have been opposed to the use of the intelligent network monitoring system, saying it intrudes into their lucrative mobile money business, but the UCC stood its ground.


The UCC executive director, Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, said the companies had been underdeclaring revenue and cheating the government.

Mr Mutabazi said with the introduction of its new system, they are able to track the real time revenue and know how much each firm is making.

“We have a solution in place and it is functional and we know how much they are earning and we do not have to beg them to tell us and they know it,” he said.

“We are using intelligent network monitoring system to track their revenues and government will collect the correct values based on what the system generates,” the UCC boss added.

The intelligent network monitoring system, among others, checks the multi-vendor network data, network performance, customer experience records, service quality performance, signalling statistics, documented data selections, customised data filtering and user configurable access.


How the Uganda monitoring system works. GRAPHIC | NMG


It also does system health monitoring, proven fraud detection data and proven billing verification data.

Since the inception of telecommunication in Uganda, telecom operators have had uncontrolled leeway in managing their affairs.

The operators have been doing self-declaration to the regulators.

However, since the entry of mobile money services, cyber security and terrorism, security agencies stepped in and UCC also directed telecom companies to grant the police access to their mobile money operations data.

With that, government moved swiftly and set up the Intelligence Network Monitoring System (INMS) in order to get full access to the telecom data system.