Africell negotiates exit conditions with Uganda’s regulator
The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has approved Africell’s planned exit from the country on condition the company settle outstanding debts and liabilities and comply with data protection and privacy, environmental and labour laws, among other conditions.
The regulator said it has given detailed guidance to Africell on how to manage the exit process and that the operator has committed to comply with the conditions laid out.
The UCC stated: “Pre-exit conditions are intended to ensure that the interests and rights of Africell customers, agents, employees, trade creditors and the government of Uganda are safeguarded before the exit.”
It added that it is working with sister agencies to ensure Africell complies with the various laws, including the Environmental Protection Act and the Data Protection and Privacy Act.
In this regard, the UCC has demanded that Africell submits written evidence of settlement of all its creditors as well as confirmation of settlement of all staff claims (if any) and the completion of staff termination processes before 7 October 2021.
On the possibility of migrating customers to other licenced telecommunications service providers, the UCC said Africell would have to ensure that its existing customers are informed of their rights to migrate to any licenced operator of their choice or consent to whichever provider they are moved to.
It added that any such arrangements to facilitate the continued provision of services to Africell’s customers after 7 October 2021 must align with the existing legal and regulatory framework.
UCC acting executive director Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo told Africell that the regulator has no objection to its proposed date of 8 October 2021 upon which it will halt operations, following the one-month notification of customers and staff effective 8 September 2021.
“Africell must, however, strictly adhere to the commitments it made to the commission with respect to ensuring that all customers’ claims and complaints are concluded before the actual date of cessation,” Sewankambo said.
Africell entered the Uganda market in 2014 after acquiring majority stake in Orange Uganda Limited, and decided to consolidate its business in other parts of the world where it has competitive advantage.