Uganda Communications Act, 2013
Act 1 of 2013
- Published in Uganda Gazette no. 4 on 18 January 2013
- Assented to on 23 December 2012
- Commenced on 18 January 2013
- [This is the version of this document as it was from 18 January 2013 to 30 June 2014.]
Part I – Preliminary
2. InterpretationIn this Act, unless the context otherwise requires—"authorised", in relation to an officer or employee of the Commission, means authorised by the Executive Director to exercise the powers or perform the duties in respect of which an authorised person is required;"Board" means the Board established under section 9;"broadcaster" means a licensed person who packages and distributes or distributes television or radio programmed services for reception by subscribers or the public, regardless of the technology;"broadcasting" means the transmission of sound, video or data, intended for simultaneous reception by the public;"cinematograph theatre" means any building, structure, tent or other erection of whatever nature or any place or land in or on which a cinematograph or video exhibition is presented to the public either gratuitously or for reward;"Commission" means the Uganda Communications Commission established under section 4;"communications" means telecommunications, data communication, radio communications, postal communications and includes broadcasting;"communications services" means services performed consisting of the dissemination or interchange of audio, visual or data content using postal, radio, or telecommunications media, data communication, and includes broadcasting;"content" means any sound, text, still picture, moving picture or other audiovisual representation, tactile representation or any combination of the preceding which is capable of being created, manipulated, stored, retrieved or communicated electronically;"currency point" has the value assigned to it in Schedule 1;"data" means electronic representations of information in any form;"dominant position" means a position of market power enjoyed by an operator, which enables the operator to prevent effective competition being maintained in the relevant market by giving it the power to behave, to an appreciable extent, independently of its competitors and customers;"Executive Director" means the Executive Director of the Commission appointed under section 16;"eligible person" means a person who—(a)has not been adjudged bankrupt or has not entered into a composition or a scheme of arrangement with his or her creditors; or(b)has not been convicted of an offence whose penalty exceeds six months imprisonment or a fine exceeding twelve currency points or both;"emission of electromagnetic energy" includes the deliberate radiation or reflection of electromagnetic energy by means of any apparatus designed or specially adapted for that purpose whether the reflection is continuous or intermittent;"electronic media" means communication of any message to the public by means of any electronic apparatus;"exhibition" means a display of art, video or data to the public, with or without sound by means of any electronic apparatus;"franking machine" means a machine for the purposes of making impressions on postal articles to denote prepayment of postage and includes any metre or metres and any franking or date stamping dies or incidental dies;"licence" means a licence issued under this Act;"Minister" means the Minister responsible for information and communications technology;"operator" means a person licensed to provide a communication or broadcasting service;"person" includes any individual, company, association, or body of persons corporate or unincorporate;"postal article" includes any letter, postcard, newspaper, book, document, pamphlet, pattern, sample packet, small packet, parcel package or other article tendered for dispatch or specified in the International Postal Union or in the licence of an operator;"postal services" means the services performed and facilities provided in connection with—(a)the collection, transmission and delivery by land, water or air of postal articles;(b)the issue of postage stamps and the use of franking machines;(c)the issue and payment of money from one place to another or address commonly referred to as money ordering;"producer" includes a person who is at any given time, in charge of programme production and transmission to the public by means of any electronic apparatus;"radio communication" means the transmitting or receiving over paths which are not provided by any material substance constructed or arranged for that purpose, of electromagnetic energy of a frequency not exceeding three million megahertz being energy which either—(a)serves for the conveyance of messages, sound or visual images, whether messages are actually received by any person or not, or for the actuation or control of machinery or apparatus; or(b)is used in connection with the determination of position, bearing or distance, or for the gaining of information as to the presence, absence, position or motion of any object or objects of any class;"radio communications apparatus" or "radio communications station" means any apparatus or station, as the case may be, for transmitting or receiving of radio communication other than a domestic radio set and where—(a)that radio communications apparatus or station cannot lawfully be used without a radio communications licence or without an exemption under section 23;(b)radio communication in the form of messages, audio or visual images is received or transmitted by that apparatus or station;(c)an apparatus is electrically coupled with another apparatus or station for the purpose of enabling any person to receive or transmit messages, sound or visual images;"radio communications services" means services performed and the facilities provided in connection with communication by means of radio communications apparatus;"telecommunication" means the emission, transmission or reception through the agency of electricity or electromagnetism of any sounds, signals, signs, writing, images or intelligence of any nature by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic systems whether or not such signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence have been subjected to rearrangement, computation or other processes by any means in the course of their transmission, emission or reception;"telecommunications apparatus" or "telecommunication station" means any apparatus or equipment used or intended to be used in connection with the transmission of communications by means of electricity from one place to another place either along a wire joining those two places or partly by wire from each of those two places and partly by radio communication;"telecommunications line" means any wire, cable, equipment, tower, mast, antenna, tunnel, hole, pit trench, pole or other structure or thing used or intended to be used in connection with a telecommunications system;"telecommunications service" means a service consisting of the conveyance or reception of any sounds, signs, signals, writing or images by wire, optical or other electronically guided media systems whether or not the signs, signals, writing, images, sounds or intelligence have been subjected to rearrangement, computation or other process by any means in the course of their transmission, emission or reception;"telecommunications system" means a system for the conveyance through the agency of electric, magnetic, electromagnetic, electrochemical, electromechanical or light energy of—(a)speech, music, data and other sounds;(b)visual images;(c)signals serving for the importance, whether as between persons and things, of any matter otherwise than in the form of sounds, visual images; or(d)signals serving for the actuation or control of machinery or apparatus; andincluding telecommunications apparatus situated in the Republic of Uganda;"tribunal" means the Uganda Communications Tribunal established under section 60;"wire" includes optical cable.
3. Objectives of the ActThe objectives of this Act are to develop a modem communications sector, which includes telecommunications, broadcasting, radio communications, postal communications, data communication and infrastructure by—
Part II – Uganda Communications Commission
4. Establishment of Uganda Communications Commission
5. Functions of the Commission
6. Powers of the Commission
7. Powers of the Minister
8. Independence of the CommissionSubject to this Act, the Commission shall exercise its functions independently of any person or body.
9. Board of the Commission
10. Disqualification from appointmentA person shall not be appointed to the Board who—
11. Vacating office of member of the Board
12. Meetings of the Board
13. Remuneration of members of the BoardThe members of the Board may be paid remuneration or allowances approved by the Minister in consultation with the Ministers responsible for public service and finance.
14. Committees of the Board
Part III – Secretariat and staff of the Commission
15. Secretariat of the Commission
16. Executive Director
17. Duties of the Executive Director
18. Secretary to the Commission
19. Other officers and staff of the Commission
20. Protection of members of the Board and officers of the CommissionA member of the Board or an officer of the Commission or a person acting on the directions of the Board or of an officer of the Commission is not personally liable for any act or omission done or omitted to be done in good faith in the exercise of functions under this Act.
Part IV – Licensing of communications
Radio, telecommunications and other communications licences
21. Licence for radio communicationsA person shall not, without a licence issued by the Commission—
22. Licence for telecommunicationsA person shall not, establish a telecommunications station, provide telecommunications services or construct, maintain or operate telecommunications apparatus without a licence issued by the Commission.
23. Exemption from requirement for licenceNotwithstanding sections 21 and 22, a licence is not required for communications apparatus—
Management and use of frequency spectrum
24. Licence to use frequency spectrumThe Commission shall exclusively issue licences for—
25. Management of radio spectrum
Installation of television and radio stations
26. Installation of television and radio stations
Broadcasting licence, right to broadcast and broadcasting standards
27. Broadcasting licence
28. Right to broadcast
29. Duties of a licensee and producerThe holder of a licence or a producer of a broadcasting station or disseminating apparatus shall—
30. Disqualification of a producerA person shall not be appointed a producer of a broadcasting station if that person—
31. Minimum broadcasting standardsA person shall not broadcast any programme unless the broadcast or programme complies with Schedule 4.
32. Ethical broadcasting standards
Part V – Postal services
33. Licensing of postal services
34. Subcontracting by a licensee
35. Protection of postal articles
36. Limitation of liability of a licensee
Part VI – Video and cinema operators
37. Licence for cinematograph theatre or video library
Part VII – General provisions relating to licences
38. Application for a licence
39. Terms and conditions of a licence
40. Modification of licence
41. Suspension and revocation of licence
42. Transfer of licence
43. Lapse and renewal of a licence
44. Annual report on operations of licenseeEvery licensee shall, at the end of each year of business, prepare and submit to the Commission in the prescribed form, a report on the operations and services of the licensee and the extent to which the conditions of the licence are followed.
Part VIII – Investigation and inspections
45. Investigation of complaintsThe Commission may investigate any matter within its functions under this Act which relates to—
46. Power to institute inquiries
47. Report on investigations
48. Directions to remedy breachWhere as a result of an investigation the Commission is satisfied that an operator has breached a condition of a licence or an obligation under this Act, it may direct the operator in writing to remedy the breach or to do such act or acts as the Commission may specify in the direction, in accordance with the procedures specified in section 41.
49. Appointment of inspectors
50. Powers of an inspector
51. Search warrant
Part IX – Fair competition and equality of treatment
52. Commission to promote fair competitionThe Commission shall, in the performance of its functions under this Act, promote, develop and enforce fair competition and equality of treatment among all operators in any business or service relating to communication.
53. Unfair competition prohibited
54. Exceptions to fair competitionThe Commission may, in writing, allow an operator to carry on any act or omission prohibited under section 53 where the Commission is satisfied that, the act or omission—
55. Breach of fair competition
56. Denial of access or serviceAn operator shall not deny access or service to a customer except for nonpayment of dues or for any other just cause.
57. Equality of treatmentAn operator shall provide equal opportunity for access to the same type and quality of service to all customers in a given area at substantially the same rates, limiting variations to available or appropriate technologies required to serve specific subscribers.
58. Interconnection of network facilities
59. Maximum interconnection rates
Part X – Uganda Communications Tribunal
60. Establishment of Uganda Communications Tribunal
61. Funds of the tribunalThe funds of the tribunal shall consist of—
62. Disqualification from appointment to the tribunalA person shall not be appointed to the tribunal or as a technical adviser who—
63. Vacating office of member of the tribunal
64. Jurisdiction of the tribunal
65. Powers of the tribunal
Part XI – Uganda Post Limited
66. Uganda Post Limited
Part XII – Financial provisions
67. Funds of the Commission
68. Levy on gross annual revenue of operators
69. Power to open and operate bank accounts
70. Estimates of income and expenditure
71. Application of Commission fundsSubject to section 70 (2), the funds of the Commission may be applied to the payment—
72. Investment of surplus funds
73. Financial year of CommissionThe financial year of the Commission is the period of twelve months beginning on the 1st day of July in each year, and ending on the 30th day of June in the next calendar year.
74. AccountsThe Commission shall—
Part XIII – Offences and penalties
76. Unlawful opening of postal articleA person who—
77. Issuing money order with fraudulent intentA person who with intent to defraud or without a licence under this Act issues any money order or valuable security commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twelve currency points or to imprisonment not exceeding six months or both.
78. Offences and penalties for unlicensed personsAny person who establishes, installs, maintains, provides or operates—
79. Interception and disclosure of communication
80. Interception of Government communicationAn operator of communications services or employee of an operator who intentionally intercepts, disrupts, denies accessibility to or diverts government communication commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ninety six currency points or imprisonment not exceeding forty eight months or both.
81. Sending false distress signalsAny person who knowingly sends, transmits or causes to be sent or transmitted any false or fraudulent distress signal, message, call or radiogram of any kind commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding thirty currency points and in the case of a second conviction to a fine not exceeding ninety six currency points, or to imprisonment not exceeding forty eight months or both.
82. Offences in respect of radio communicationsA person who—
83. Protection of telecommunication installations
84. False advertisementA person who, without a licence, advertises or places a notice, mark or word at any place which notice, advertisement, mark or word signifies, implies or may reasonably lead the public to believe that the advertiser or other person is a holder of a licence under this Act commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding ninety six currency points or imprisonment not exceeding four years or both and in case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding forty eight currency points for each day during which the offence continues after conviction.
85. General penaltyAny person convicted of an offence under this Act for which no penalty is expressly provided is liable to a fine not exceeding ninety six currency points or imprisonment not exceeding four years or both.
Part XIV – Miscellaneous
86. Powers of the Commission in a state of emergency
87. Transfer of assets and liabilitiesAll assets, rights and liabilities relating to communications services to which Uganda Communications Commission or Broadcasting Council were entitled or subject, before the commencement of this Act, shall vest in the Commission.
88. Transfer of service contractsEmployees of Uganda Communications Commission and Broadcasting Council immediately before the commencement of this Act whose services are transferred to the Commission shall transfer to the Commission on similar or better terms than those enjoyed by those employees before the transfer.
89. Pension fund and retired and redundant employees
90. Agreements and licences by the Commission or Broadcasting CouncilAll valid—
91. Pending court proceedings or orders of court
92. Service of notices on the CommissionAny notice or other document required to be served on the Commission may be served by—
94. Amendment of Cap. 49The Stage Plays and Public Entertainment Act is amended—
95. Amendment of SchedulesThe Minister may, with the approval of Cabinet, by statutory instrument amend the Schedules to this Act.
96. Repeal and saving
History of this document
01 July 2014 amendment not yet applied
Amended by Finance Act, 2014
18 January 2013 this version
Published in Uganda Gazette number 4
23 December 2012
|Uganda Communications (Fees and Fines) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations, 2020||Statutory Instrument 111 of 2020|
Cited documents 3
Documents citing this one 6
- Eaton Towers Uganda Limited v Attorney General & Anor (Miscellaneous Cause No. 84 of 2019)  UGHCCD 46 (14 April 2020)
- Katuntu v MTN UGANDA LTD & Anor (HCCS 248 of 2012)  UGCommC 83 (29 May 2015)
- Sebatindira (Admnistrator of UTL) V Uganda Revenue Authority and 5 Others. (Miscellaneous Application No. 1164 of 2020)  UGHCCD 40 (23 March 2022)
- Uganda Government Gazette dated 2014-08-29 number 49
- Uganda Government Gazette dated 2022-02-18 number 7
- Uganda Government Gazette dated 2022-03-11 number 11