The Uganda Communications Act of 2013 mandates the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) to among other functions;
- Regulate rates and charges for communication services with a view to protect consumers from excessive tariffs and unfair competitive practices – see section 5 (e) of the Act.
- Promote competition including the protection of operators from acts and practices of other operators that are damaging to competition and facilitate entry of new and modern systems – see section 5(n) of the Act
In the pursuit and achievement of the functions highlighted, the UCC conducts and implements regulatory interventions in the retail and wholesale markets, defines and assesses the markets it regulates, and investigates abuses therein. In addition, the UCC evaluates mergers, acquisitions and license transfers for anti-competitive practices.
In the last four years, since the last high level market definition was conducted, there have been many new, innovative and industry changing developments in the communications sector. These changes have included: convergence of broadcast and telecommunications technologies; introduction and establishment of new business models; the growing importance of Next Generation Technologies; and mergers and acquisitions, to name just a few. These new developments in the communications sector, and their impact on the degree of effective competition therein, have compelled the UCC to define the structure, and assess the competitive conduct and performance in the various markets and sub-markets it regulates.
For UCC to appreciate the impact of these new developments and innovations on the degree of effective competition within the communications sector, it was therefore necessary and urgent to undertake a Market definition and Market Power Assessment study. Consequently, in June 2014 the Commission contracted CARTESIAN, a consulting company, to undertake a market definition and market power assessment study of the telecommunications and broadcast markets in Uganda. The key objectives of this study were:
- Conduct product and or geographical supply and demand side substitutability analyses, hypothetical Monopolist tests, and apply other relevant universally accepted tests in identifying and defining relevant markets.
- Undertake market power assessments in each of the identified relevant markets
- Advise on the regulatory treatment and or potential remedial actions to address any and or all anti-competitive issues and or market failures observed in the assessed markets
- Provide a framework to review and handle the competition concerns that arise whenever there are Mergers and or Acquisitions in the communications sector