Uganda’s wireless operators are all failing to meet minimum quality of service (QoS) requirements, according to a report published by the telecoms watchdog the Uganda Communication Commission (UCC). The UCC survey was carried out between 30 May 2011 and 2 September 2011, and during this period all six operators exceeded the maximum 2% rate of calls blocked or dropped. A blocked call is a failed call attempt due to network failure, whilst dropped calls are those which have connected successfully but are terminated prematurely by the provider. The country’s largest provider by subscribers, South African-owned MTN Uganda blocked 11.1% of calls, and dropped 4.5%. Meanwhile, Indian-owned Airtel Uganda blocked the highest proportion of calls, with 15.2% failing to connect, although it was far more successful once calls were connected, dropping only 3.2%. Uganda Telecom fared slightly better with 11.4% of calls blocked, and 3.4% dropped. French-owned Orange Uganda, the country’s second-youngest cellco, having launched in March 2009, came the closest to reaching UCC targets, with 3.8% of calls blocked and 2.8% dropped. The UCC did not report results for the smallest cellco by subscribers and most recent market entrant, i-Tel.
During the UCC’s previous QoS survey, in December 2010, Warid Telecom performed the worst of all the country’s telcos; the most recent analysis indicated significant improvement from the UAE-backed company, reducing the proportion of blocked calls from 25.8% to 8.8% whilst dropped calls were reduced from 8.0% to 4.2%. Warid’s progress was the result of improvements to capacity and coverage carried out by Chinese vendor Huawei in June 2011.