Telecommunications (Interconnection) Regulations, 2005

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Date of promulgation: 

7 January 2005

2005 No. 25.

THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS (INTERCONNECTION) REGULATIONS, 2005.

ARRANGEMENT OF REGULATIONS.

Regulation.

1.

Title.

2.

Application of Regulations.

3.

Objectives of Regulations.

4.

Interpretation.

5.

Obligation to interconnect.

6.

Technically feasible interconnection.

7.

Interconnection through physical or virtual collocation

8.

Interconnection of unbundled network elements.

9.

Negotiations.

10.

Access through interconnection.

11.

Reference interconnection offer.

12.

Interconnection agreements.

13.

Negotiation, imposition and approval of agreements.

14.

Interconnect service markets.

15.

Interconnection charges and cost accounting systems.

16.

Accounting separation.

17.

Billing, collection and settlement of accounts.

18.

Changes in the network.

19.

Facility sharing and collocation.

20.

Resale.

21.

Pre-existing agreements.

 

2005 No. 25. The Telecommunications (Interconnection) Regulations, 2005.

(Under section 94 of the Uganda Communications Act, Cap 106)

In exercise of the powers conferred upon the Uganda Communications Commission by Section 94 of the Uganda Communications Act, these Regulations are made this 7th day of January, 2005.

  1. Title

These Regulations may be cited as the Telecommunications (Interconnection) Regulations, 2005.

  1. Application of Regulations

These Regulations apply to the linking, accessing, sharing, interconnecting, harmonising and the interoperability of telecommunications network and systems, infrastructure facilities and services operating a telecommunications industry in a competitive market place.

  1. Objectives of Regulations

The objective of these Regulations is to establish an effective and competitive framework for regulating the interconnection and interoperability of telecommunications networks and systems, infrastructure facilities and services through measures aimed at—

  1. ensuring end-to-end interoperability of networks, equality of access and

universality of service, where consumers to whom access is provided by one operator can contact consumers to whom access is provided by a different operator, regardless of who provides the facilities which customers elect to use to access telecommunications services in order to communicate with one another;

  1. ensuring a competitive interconnection of system infrastructure, network

facilities, and services to enable mutual exchange of traffic, rental of network components or elements, rental of physical components or purchase of end-to-end services for resale;

  1. ensuring adequate consumer protection and maximising consumer welfare

of any-to-any connectivity;

  1. preventing operators and providers, with dominant and significant market

power in interconnect services markets, from abusing their positions;

  1. regulating the conduct of operators and providers in a manner

proportionate to the market power or relative position in each separate market;


  1. promoting fair competition, transparency of interconnection agreements,

technical standards and compliance with essential requirements by setting out rights and obligations of operators and providers of network and infrastructure facilities and services in regard to interconnection and access requests;

  1. establishing a dispute resolution mechanism for access and interconnection disputes;
  2. laying down charging principles for access and interconnection of

networks and infrastructure facilities and services;

  1. creating a harmonised and nation-wide telecommunications network;

(j) enhancing the interoperability of telecommunications infrastructure and network services and facilities countrywide; and

(k) promoting infrastructure roll out and development.

  1. Interpretation

In these Regulations, unless the context otherwise requires—

“access charge” means a charge made by an owner or operator of a telecommunications network or service, to an operator or service provider interconnecting with that owner or operator, to compensate the network operator for any loss-making obligations imposed upon the owner or operator through regulatory means;

“Act” means the Uganda Communications Act, Cap 106;

“call” means the establishment by an interconnect party of a transmission path through its system for the sending of messages and the switching by the operator of traffic over the transmission path;

“calling line identification” means the information generated by a telecommunication system, which identifies the calling number and forwards it through that telecommunication system to another telecommunication system directly or indirectly;

“collocation” means access to unbundled elements such as local loops or interconnection of switched services like any-to-any calls and may be—

  1. physical collocation where a new entrant rents space within an

interconnect provider’s building or premises by bringing its cables into the rented space and installing its own transmission equipment and frames there and where the rented space is often delineated by a secure cage to which only the new entrant has access and the transmission equipment is connected to the interconnect provider’s equipment by short leads; or

  1. virtual collocation where a new entrant’s cables are connected to an

interconnect provider’s cables or are brought into the premises and terminated on equipment that is supplied by the new entrant

but leased to the interconnect provider for a nominal sum and the interconnect provider operates and maintains this equipment;

“Commission” means the Uganda Communications Commission established under the Act;

“confidential information” means any information, which in the case of written or electronic information is clearly designated as confidential and which, in the case of information disclosed orally, is identified at the time of disclosure as confidential or is by its nature confidential, including confidential information already disclosed by either interconnect party to the other prior to the date of an interconnection agreement, but excluding any information which is-

  1. in or comes into public domain other than by reason of a breach of

an agreement;

  1. previously known on a non-confidential basis to the receiving party

at the time of its receipt;

  1. independently generated, developed or discovered at any time, by

or for the receiving party; or

  1. subsequently received from a third party without any restriction on

disclosure;

“dialling parity” refers to a situation where a person who is not an affiliate of an operator is able to provide telecommunications services in a manner that customers have the ability to route automatically, without the use of any access code, their telecommunication to the telecommunications services provider of the customer’s designation from among two or more service providers;

“essential facility” means a facility which is essential for reaching customers or conducting business and which cannot be replicated by any reasonable means;

“essential service” means an interconnection service that is part of a telecommunication network or service and which—

  1. is exclusively or predominantly provided by a single or limited

number of suppliers; and

  1. cannot feasibly, whether economically or technically, be substituted

in order to provide a service;

“exchange access” means the offering of access to telephone exchange services or facilities for the purposes of origination or termination of telephone toll services;

“fixed public telephone network” means a public switched telecommunications network, which supports the transfer, between network termination points at fixed locations, of speech and audio information, to support voice telephony facsimile or voice band data transmission and access, to an end-user’s network termination point, through a number in the national numbering plan;

“fixed public telephone service” means the provision to an end-user at a fixed location, through a number or numbers in the national numbering plan of a service for the originating and receiving of national and international calls, including access to emergency services, the provision of operator assistance, directory services, provision of public pay phones, provision of service under special terms or provision of special facilities for customers with disabilities or with special social needs or both;

“information service” means the offering of a capability for generating, acquiring, storing, transforming, processing, retrieving, utilising, or making available information through telecommunications, and includes electronic publishing, but does not include the use of the capability for the management, control, or operation of a telecommunications system or the management of a telecommunications service;

“intelligent networks” means an advanced network concept allowing rapid and flexible introduction of new services such as freephone, premium rate customer-controller routing and bandwidth-on-demand;

“interconnect party” means an interconnect provider, an interconnect seeker or any other party to an interconnection agreement;

“interconnect provider” means an operator who is under a duty and who is obliged to interconnect its network and infrastructure to a requesting operator;

“interconnect seeker” means an operator who requests for interconnection or who is interconnected on the network or infrastructure of an interconnect provider;

“interconnection” means the physical and logical linking of telecommunications networks, used by the same or a different operator, in order to allow the users of one operator to communicate with users of the same operator or to access services provided by another operator;

“interconnection agreement” means an agreement of interconnection between an interconnect provider and an interconnect seeker;

“interconnection capacity” means dedicated unswitched transmission capacity and other facilities for connecting the telecommunications systems of two telecommunication service providers so that telecommunication services may be passed efficiently between those systems;

“interconnection charges” means charges made by an owner or an operator of a telecommunications network or service to an operator or service provider interconnecting with the owner or operator, for access and use, including the conveyance of the telecommunications traffic;

“interconnection information” means information relevant to interconnection which is in the possession or control of an interconnect provider and which may assist an interconnect seeker;

“interconnection link” means a link establishing one or more transmission paths connecting one party’s switch connection passing through a point of interconnect;

“inter-operability” means the ability of two or more facilities or networks to be connected to exchange information, and to use the information that has been exchanged;

“licence” means a licence issued under the Act;

“network element” means a facility or equipment used in the provision of a telecommunications service and includes features, functions, and capabilities that are provided by means of the facility or equipment, including subscriber numbers, databases, signalling systems, and information sufficient for billing and collection or used in the transmission, routing, or other provision of telecommunications service;

“network termination point” means all physical connections and their technical access specifications, which form part of the public telecommunications network and are necessary for access to and efficient communication through that public network;

“non-discrimination” means the treatment by an operator of all interconnect operators and its own business on a basis of equivalence of economic quality of service and other relevant terms and conditions;

“number portability” means the ability of users of telecommunications services to keep at the same location, existing telecommunications numbers without impairment of quality, reliability, or convenience when switching from one telecommunications operator to another;

“operator” means any licensee providing telecommunication services under the Act;

“point of interconnect” means a physical point where the system of one party is connected to the system of the other party for calls to be handed over from one system to the other;

“public telecommunications network” means a telecommunications network used, in whole or in part, for the provision of publicly available telecommunications services;

“reciprocal compensation” means an arrangement between two interconnect parties where an operator receives compensation from the other for the transport and termination of the operator’s network facilities, of telecommunications traffic that originates on the network facilities of the other operator;

“retail costs” includes costs of marketing, billing, collection, and other costs associated with offering retail telecommunications services to subscribers who are not telecommunications operators;

“service provider” means a service provider that offers services to end users, either by using the basic service and infrastructure provided by network operators on a re-sale basis, or by providing services through the service provider’s own infrastructure where it forms part of a network operation;

“technically feasible” means interconnection, access to unbundled network elements, collocation, and other methods of achieving interconnection or access to unbundled network considered technically feasible and technical or operational concerns that prevent the fulfillment of a request by a telecommunications carrier for such interconnection, access, or methods;

“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 the sounds, signals, signs, writing, images or intelligence are subjected to rearrangement, computation or other processes by any means in the course of their transmission, emission or reception;

“telecommunications apparatus” 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 equipment” means equipment, other than customer premises equipment, used by an operator to provide telecommunications services, and includes software integral to such equipment including upgrades, other than switching equipment associated with the provision of switched telecommunications services;

“telecommunications infrastructure” means the underlying physical components associated with the provision of telecommunications transmission capacity, other than switching equipment associated with the provision of switched telecommunications services;

“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 network” means transmission systems and where applicable, switching equipment and other resources which permit the conveyance of signals between defined termination points by wire, radio, optical or other electromagnetic means;

“telecommunications service” means a service consisting of the conveyance or reception of any sound, sign, signal, writing or image by wire, optical, intelligence or other electronically guided media system

whether or not the sound, sign, signal, writing, image or intelligence is subjected to rearrangement, computation or other process by any means in the course of its transmission, emission or reception;

“telecommunications system” means a system for the conveyance, through the agency of electric, magnetic, electro-magnetic, electro-chemical, electro-mechanical or light energy, of—

  1. speech, music and other sounds;
  2. visual images;
  3. signals between persons and things, serving for the importance of

any matter other than in the form of sound, visual images; or

  1. signals serving for the actuation or control of machinery or

apparatus; and including telecommunications apparatus situated in Uganda;

“termination” means the switching of telecommunications traffic at a terminating operator’s end office switch or equivalent facility, and delivery of the traffic to a called party’s premises;

“transfer charge” means the charge which is applied by a licensee to itself or to any body corporate controlled by it for the use or provision of a service, which is the same as a standard service;

“transport” means the transmission and any necessary tandem switching of telecommunications traffic from the interconnection point between two operators to a terminating operator’s end office switch that directly serves a called party, or equivalent facility provided by an operator other than an interconnect provider;

“unbundled pricing” means the separation of charges for network elements and includes, to local, national and international call completion, broken down by switch hub and transmission cost, database and signalling systems, operator services and directory assistance;

“user” means an individual and includes a consumer or operator, using or requesting publicly available telecommunications services;

“wire communication” means the transmission of any writing, sign, signal, picture and sound of any kind, by aid of wire, cable, or similar connection between the points of origin and reception of the transmission, including all instrumentalities, facilities, apparatus, and services including the receipt, forwarding and delivery of communications incidental to that transmission.

  1. Obligation to interconnect
  1. An operator—
  1. issued with a major licence under the Act, for the provision of telecommunication services;
  2. designated as a public operator by the Commission;
  3. authorised by the Commission under a licence; or
  4. identified and determined by the Commission as providing public

telecommunication networks or publicly available telecommunication services,

shall make available its network, infrastructure facilities and equipment for interconnection, directly or indirectly with other operators entitled to interconnect and the interconnection shall include access to specified network elements or facilities on an unbundled basis, as may be identified and determined by the Commission.

  1. It is mandatory for the following operators to interconnect their networks—
  1. all public telecommunications networks including fixed, cellular and data

or internet services; and

  1. all public telecommunications networks providing essential services

including fixed and cellular services.

  1. Only operators whose licences permit them to access through interconnection shall have the right of interconnection.
  2. An interconnect provider shall, provide for the network and infrastructure facilities and equipment of a requesting telecommunications operator, interconnection with the interconnect provider’s infrastructure and network facilities or equipment—
  1. for the transmission and routing of telecommunications services through

origination, termination or exchange of traffic at any technically feasible point within the interconnect providers network, applying technically feasible methods of obtaining interconnection or access to network elements which include, but are not limited to—

  1. physical collocation and virtual collocation at the premises of the

interconnect provider; and

  1. meet point interconnection arrangements;
  1. to connect and keep connected to any of the network facilities and

equipment or to permit to be connected and keep connected, an interconnect provider’s telecommunication systems and establish and maintain one or more points of connection as may be reasonably required and of sufficient capacity and in sufficient number, to enable messages conveyed or to be conveyed by means of any of the facility or equipment to be conveyed conveniently, to meet all reasonable demands for the conveyance of messages between an interconnect provider’s system and an interconnect seeker’s system;

  1. to provide other telecommunication services, including the conveyance of

messages which have been, or are to be transmitted or received at points of connection and information and other services which are required, to secure that points of connection are established and maintained and to enable the interconnect provider to effectively provide the connection service which it provides or proposes to provide;

  1. at a level of a quality that is equal to that which an interconnect provider

provides itself or to a subsidiary, an affiliate, or any other party, and shall to that extent design interconnection facilities to meet the same technical criteria and service standards that are used within its own network; and

  1. on terms and conditions that are just, reasonable, and non-discriminatory

in accordance with the terms and conditions of any agreement, the requirements of the Act and any regulations made under the Act, including, facilities requesting telecommunications carriers and offering terms and conditions that are not less favourable than the terms and conditions upon which an interconnect provider provides interconnection to itself, including but not limited to the time within which the interconnect provider provides the interconnection.

  1. Technically feasible interconnection

(1) A previous successful interconnection at a particular point in a network using particular facilities, constitutes substantial evidence that interconnection is technically feasible at that point, or at a substantially similar point in networks employing substantial facilities and adherence to the same interface or protocol standards constitutes evidence of substantial similarity of network facilities.

  1. A successful interconnection at a particular point in a network, at a particular level of quality, constitutes substantial evidence that interconnection is technically feasible at that point, or at a substantially similar point at that level of quality.
  2. An interconnection provider that denies a request for interconnection at a particular point, shall prove that interconnection at that point is not technically feasible.
  1. Interconnection through physical or virtual collocation

Where interconnection is through physical collocation, virtual collocation or both, an interconnect provider shall—

  1. provide an interconnection point which is physically accessible by both

interconnecting parties and at which the wires carrying an interconnect seeker’s circuits enter into the interconnect provider’s premises, provided that the interconnect provider shall designate interconnection points as close as reasonably possible to its premises;

  1. provide at least two interconnection points at each interconnect provider’s

premises at which there are at least two entry points for the interconnect provider’s cable facilities, and at which space is available for new facilities in at least two of those entry points;

  1. permit interconnection of approved cables;
  2. permit physical collocation of transmission facilities except where the

collocation is not practical for technical reasons or because of space

limitations, in which case virtual collocation of the transmission facilities is required, where technically feasible;

  1. when providing virtual collocation, at a minimum, install, maintain, and

repair collocated equipment within the same time periods and with failure rates that are no greater than those that apply to the performance of similar functions for comparable equipment of the interconnect provider itself;

  1. allocate space for the collocation of equipment in accordance with the

following requirements—

  1. an interconnect provider shall make available, space within or on its

premises to interconnect seekers on a first-come, first-serve basis, but shall not be required to lease or construct additional space to provide for physical collocation when existing space is exhausted;

  1. to the extent possible, an interconnect provider shall make

contiguous space available to interconnect seekers that seek to expand their existing collocation space;

  1. when planning renovations of existing facilities or constructing or

leasing new facilities, an interconnect provider shall take into account projected demand for collocation of equipment;

  1. an interconnect provider may retain a limited amount of floor

space for its own specific future uses, on the same terms as those that apply to other telecommunications carriers seeking to reserve collocation space for their own future use;

  1. an interconnect provider shall relinquish any space held for future

use before denying a request for virtual collocation on the grounds of space limitations, unless the interconnect provider proves that virtual collocation at that point is not technically feasible; and

  1. an interconnect provider may impose reasonable restrictions on the

warehousing of unused space by interconnect seekers but shall not set maximum space limitations applicable to such carriers unless the interconnect provider proves that space constraints make such restrictions necessary;

  1. permit interconnect seekers to collocate equipment and connect the

equipment to unbundled network transmission elements obtained from the interconnect provider, and shall not require the interconnect seekers to bring their own transmission facilities to the interconnect provider’s premises in which they seek to collocate equipment;

  1. permit an interconnect seeker to interconnect its network with that of

another interconnect seeker at the interconnect provider’s premises and to connect its collocated equipment to the collocated equipment of another interconnect seeker within the same premises, provided the collocated equipment is also used for interconnection with the interconnect provider or for access to the interconnect provider’s unbundled network elements;


  1. provide the connection between the equipment in the collocated spaces of

two or more interconnect seekers, unless the interconnect provider permits one or more of the collocating parties to provide this connection for themselves;

(j) require reasonable security arrangements to separate the interconnect seeker’s space from the interconnect provider’s facilities; and

(k) permit the interconnect seeker to subcontract the construction of physical collocation arrangements with contractors approved by the interconnect provider and shall not unreasonably withhold approval of contractors.

  1. Interconnection of unbundled network elements

(1) Interconnection may be availed by an interconnect provider to network elements on an unbundled basis network with all the unbundled network element features, factors and capabilities, in a manner that allows an interconnect seeker to provide telecommunications services that can be offered by means of that network element.

  1. The Commission shall identify and determine the network elements that shall be made available on an unbundled basis and publish a list of these.
  2. Upon the coming into force of these Regulations, only the switching and transmission facility shall be available for interconnection on an unbundled basis and shall strictly exclude the local loop unbundling.
  3. The network elements identified and determined by the Commission as available for access on an unbundled basis shall be technically feasible for an access provider to provide access to the network element on an unbundled basis.
  4. An interconnect provider shall provide unbundled network elements in a manner that allows a requesting telecommunications operator to combine the network elements, in order to provide telecommunications services.
  5. Except upon request, an interconnect provider shall not separate requested network elements that an interconnect provider currently combines.
  6. Upon request, an interconnect provider shall perform the functions necessary to combine unbundled network elements that are not ordinarily combined in the interconnect provider’s network, where the combination—
  1. is technically feasible; and
  1. would not impair the ability of other carriers to obtain access to

unbundled network elements or to interconnect with the interconnect provider’s network.

  1. Upon request, an interconnect provider shall perform the functions necessary to combine unbundled network elements with elements possessed by the requesting telecommunications carrier, in any technically feasible manner.
  1. Negotiations
  1. An interconnect provider shall negotiate in good faith, and in a timely manner use all efforts to conclude and reach the acceptable terms and conditions of an interconnection agreement with an interconnection seeker in fulfilment of the obligation to interconnect.
  2. An interconnect seeker shall negotiate in good faith, the terms and conditions of an interconnect agreement with an interconnect provider.
  3. An interconnect provider shall provide to an interconnect seeker, technical information about its network facilities, sufficient to allow the interconnect seeker to achieve interconnection, consistent with the requirements of this regulation.
  4. An operator shall ensure that all negotiations for interconnect agreements are based on the same charges and associated terms and conditions as set out or referred to in the reference interconnection offer.
  5. The following principles shall guide negotiations for interconnect agreements each negotiating party shall not—
  1. intentionally mislead the other;
  2. coerce the other into making an agreement that it would not otherwise

have made; and

  1. intentionally obstruct negotiations.
  1. The following actions or practices violate and breach the duty to negotiate in good faith—
  1. failure to provide the other party with all relevant information in a timely

manner;

  1. demands to sign non-disclosure agreements, which are coercive or

unnecessarily broad or restrictive;

  1. refusal to allow clauses within an agreement, which permit future

amendment;

  1. attempts to tie conditions within the agreement to resolution of other

unrelated disputes;

  1. actions, which are intended to delay negotiations, like—
  1. consistent refusal to designate a representative with authority to

make binding commitments, leading to delay; and

  1. refusal to provide information needed to reach agreement;
  1. requiring a purchaser of interconnect services to commit to minimum

periods of use before establishing a price for the service;

  1. conditioning negotiations on an interconnect seeker’s first obtaining

clearance from the Commission;

  1. intentionally misleading or coercing another party into reaching an

agreement that it would not have otherwise made;

  1. intentionally obstructing or delaying negotiations or resolutions of

disputes; and

(j) refusing to provide information necessary to reach agreement, including—

  1. refusal by an interconnect provider to furnish information about its

network that an interconnect seeker reasonably requires, to identify the network elements that it needs in order to serve a particular customer; or

  1. refusal by an interconnect provider to furnish cost data that would

be relevant to setting rates if the parties were in arbitration.

  1. An operator who breaches the duty or obligation to negotiate in good faith shall be considered to have engaged in unfair competition and to have committed an anti-competitive act or a breach of fair competition under the Act.
  1. Access through interconnection

(1) An operator who interconnects with other operators under these Regulations has reciprocal rights to be interconnected to the other operators’ networks.

  1. An operator who provides switched or unswitched bearer capabilities and

who—

  1. is authorised to provide public telecommunication networks and services

and who in so doing controls the means of access to one or more networks termination points;

  1. provides leased lines to users’ premises;
  2. provides international telecommunication circuits; and
  3. owns and operates switching or transmission facilities that require

interconnection,

is entitled to interconnection.

  1. Reference interconnection offer

(1) In pursuance of the duty to negotiate, an interconnect provider shall publish a reference interconnection offer by—

  1. sending a copy to the Commission;
  2. placing a copy in a publicly accessible part of every major office of an

operator, in such a manner and in such a place that it is readily available for inspection, free of charge, by members of the general public during normal working hours; and

  1. sending a copy to a person who may request for it.
  1. A reference interconnection offer under this regulation shall include—
  1. a full list of the interconnection services to be supplied to interconnect seekers, specifying—
  1. the charges for each interconnect service, known as the service list,

and the amounts applied to each component within the service;

  1. the location in an operator’s current standard interconnection

agreement, of the terms and conditions associated with the provision of each interconnect service; and

  1. a description of interconnection services to be supplied, broken down into components according to market needs and the associated terms and conditions, including charges.
  1. A reference offer shall be sufficiently unbundled, giving a description of the interconnection offerings broken down into components according to market needs and the associated terms and conditions including prices and tariffs.
  2. An interconnect provider shall provide information on the charges and terms and conditions set out in a reference interconnection offer and shall ensure that—
  1. the charges are transparent and cost oriented;
  2. the charges and terms and conditions are objectively justified on the basis

of the services or services element provided; and

  1. the charges are sufficiently unbundled to ensure that there is no

requirement to pay for anything which is not strictly related to the services requested.

  1. Interconnection agreements

(1) An interconnection agreement shall be entered into as soon as practicable, but in any event, not later than three months after an interconnect provider receives a request for interconnection.

  1. Within the agreed time scales, after a request for interconnection is accepted or is obligatory, where agreement is not reached, temporary prices shall be applied to prevent unnecessary delay to the launch of the services and the prices shall be retrospectively adjusted when the price is finally agreed or determined.
  2. A written interconnection agreement shall address the following matters, as minimum guidelines in accordance with which telecommunications operators shall negotiate and enter into interconnection agreements—
  1. dispute resolution procedure;
  2. requirements for publication and access to interconnection agreements

and other periodic publications duties;

  1. requirements for the provision of equal access and number portability;
  2. requirements to provide facility sharing, including collocation;
  3. requirements to ensure the maintenance of essential requirements;
  4. requirements for allocation and use of numbering resources including

access to directory services and emergency services;

  1. requirements for the maintenance of the end-to-end quality of service;
  2. where applicable, determination of the unbundled part of the

interconnection charge which represents a contribution to the net cost of universal service obligations;

  1. description of interconnection services to be provided;

(j) terms of payment including billing procedures;

(k) location of the points of interconnection;

  1. technical standards for interconnection;

(m) interoperability tests;

(n) measures to comply with essential requirements;

(o) intellectual property rights;

(p) definition and limitation of liability and indemnity;

(q) definition of interconnection charges and their evolution over time;

(r) dispute resolution procedure between parties before requesting for the Commission’s intervention;

(s) duration and re-negotiation of agreements;

(t) procedure in the event of alterations being proposed to the network or service offerings of one of the parties;

(u) achievement of equal access;

(v) provision of facility sharing;

(w) access to ancillary, supplementary and advanced services;

(x) traffic or network management;

(y) maintenance and quality of interconnection services;

(z) confidentiality of non-public parts of the agreements; and

(aa) training of staff.

  1. Negotiation, imposition and approval of agreements
  1. Upon receiving a request for interconnection, an interconnect provider shall begin negotiations and enter into a binding agreement with an interconnect seeker within forty five days.
  2. An agreement between an interconnect provider and an interconnect seeker shall include a detailed schedule of itemized charges for interconnection and each service or network element included in the agreement.
  3. Any agreement, including any interconnection agreement negotiated before the coming into force of these Regulations shall, upon the coming into force of thes e Regulations, be submitted to the Commission for approval.
  4. Any party negotiating an agreement under this regulation may, at any time during the negotiations, request the Commission to participate in the negotiations and to mediate any differences arising in the course of the negotiations.
  5. Within forty five days after the time in subregulation (1) and after the date on which an interconnect provider receives a request for negotiation, an interconnect seeker or any other party to the negotiation, may request the Commission to arbitrate in any contentious issue.
  6. A party that requests the Commission to arbitrate shall, at the time it submits the request, provide the Commission with all relevant documentation concerning—
  1. the unresolved issues;
  2. the position of each of the parties with respect to those issues; and
  3. any other issue discussed and resolved by the parties.
  1. A party requesting the Commission to arbitrate shall provide a copy of the request letter and any other documentation to the other party, not later than the day on which the Commission receives the petition.
  2. An interconnect provider may respond to the interconnect seeker’s request and provide any additional information it wishes, within fifteen days after the Commission receives the request.
  3. The Commission shall limit its consideration of any request to arbitrate and any response to it, to the issues in the request and in the response, if any, filed with the Commission.
  4. The Commission may require a requesting party and a responding party to provide such information as may be necessary for the Commission to reach a decision on the unresolved issues, and where any party refuses or fails to respond within the time given, to any reasonable request from the Commission, the Commission may proceed to arbitrate on the matter on the basis of the information available to it.
  5. The Commission shall resolve each issue in a request and the response, if any, by imposing appropriate conditions upon the parties to the agreement, and shall conclude the resolution of any unresolved issues within four months after the date on which an interconnect provider received the request.
  6. A refusal, by any party to negotiations, to participate further in the negotiations, to cooperate with the Commission in carrying out its function as an arbitrator, or to continue to negotiate in good faith in the presence or with the assistance of the Commission, shall be considered as a failure to negotiate in good faith.
  7. In resolving by arbitration any open issues and imposing conditions, upon the parties to an agreement, the Commission shall—
  1. ensure that the resolution and conditions meet the requirements of the Act

and these Regulations;

  1. establish rates for interconnection services or network elements; and
  2. provide a schedule for implementation of the terms and conditions by the

parties to the agreement.

  1. Any interconnection agreement adopted by negotiation shall be submitted for approval to the Commission and the Commission shall approve or reject the agreement, giving reasons in writing.
  2. The Commission may only reject an agreement or any portion of it, adopted by negotiation, where it finds that—
  1. the agreement or a portion of it, discriminates against a telecommunications operator who is not a party to the agreement;
  2. the implementation of the agreement or a portion of it is not consistent

with the public interest, convenience, and necessity; or

  1. the agreement is contrary to the competition law principles or the

objective of these Regulations.

  1. Interconnect service markets

(1) The following telecommunication services are examples of interconnect service markets—

  1. call origination using fixed access network;
  2. call termination using fixed access network;
  3. call origination using mobile access network;
  4. call termination using mobile access network;
  5. transit services, including the transit component of single and double

tandem origination or termination;

  1. interconnect links;
  2. operator assisted services like directory inquiries;
  3. dedicated access services like leased lines or local loop access services;

and

  1. special services associated to interconnect like number portability.
  1. In assessing the market power of an operator the following shall be considered by the Commission—
  1. the geographical scope of the market;
  2. the internal supply of services by the operator;
  3. the market share of the operator; and
  4. the control of an essential facility by the operator.
  1. An operator who has—
  1. control of the means of access to a network termination point and the

ability to control the telecommunications services available to an end- user at that network termination point;

  1. the ability to deny other service providers access to an end-user at the

network termination point;

  1. control of the means of access through ownership or control of the

physical link to the end-user, whether wire or wireless; or

  1. the ability to change or withdraw the national number or numbers needed

to access an end-user’s network termination point,

shall be regulated as if it is a dominant operator or an operator with significant market power.

  1. An interconnect provider who is dominant in a particular interconnect services market or with significant market power shall specifically be regulated by the following, in addition to the general rules applicable to all other operators—
  1. the operator is obliged to supply interconnect services on an unbundled

basis;

  1. the operator shall not discriminate on supply, conditions of price, quality

of service and the supply time between users of the service and in particular, shall supply all interconnect seekers on uniform terms, which are as favourable as those on which it supplies its own downstream business;

  1. the operator shall charge a cost-oriented price for interconnect services,

whether offered unbundled or bundled;

  1. the operator shall provide access to its physical facilities;
  2. the operator shall not abuse its position;
  3. the operator shall give access to its network including access at points

other than the network termination points offered to the end-users;

  1. the operator’s refusal to supply essential facilities to a requesting operator

constitutes anti-competitive behaviour where—

  1. the facility is essential to the rival’s business and the refusal to

supply a facility increases the rival’s costs or makes it impossible or seriously uneconomic for the rival to provide the desired service;

  1. the controller of the facility has spare capacity;
  2. refusal blocks competition or the development of a new service;
  3. the rival is prepared to accept reasonable supply conditions; or
  4. there is no objective reason for the refusal.
  1. An interconnect provider may make interconnection available at the following levels—
  1. intermediate tandem or transit level;
  2. terminating or local level; or
  3. the international level.
  1. In an interconnect service market an interconnect provider shall provide interconnect services that allow a customer to connect to one operator’s network, to access services offered by an interconnect seeker either in competition with itself or on a fully competitive basis an alternative to other ways of meeting demand, and such serv ices shall include—
  1. data management amendments to enable access to each other’s numbers,

or numbers of other operators, through implementing data management amendments in the networks;

  1. conveyance where a call of a customer from one operator terminates in

another network, and in this case the terminating number belongs to an

operator in whose network the call is terminated and may originate from the operator’s network or from another network with connection to the operator;

  1. international conveyance which involves conveying across an operator’s

network, any calls from another operator’s customers terminating in an international operator’s network and whose terminating number belongs to that international operator;

  1. special telephony services including free-phone and premium rate calls,

where the terminating number is of an operator’s service provider or third party service provider and the call originates from another operator’s customers or elsewhere, with connection to the operator;

  1. national transit where an operator passes calls to another operator for

termination in another operator’s network;

  1. access service where a calling customer of one operator is enabled to

access services offered by another operator through an access code and a personal identification number;

  1. operator assistance service passes calls from a customer of an operator to

an operator’s assistance provider, at a number of specified connection points;

  1. directory enquiry service passes calls from customers of all operators to

the directory enquiry provider, at a number of specified connection points;

  1. emergency services where customers of all operators pass their customers

emergency service calls to the emergency service provider;

(j) number information systems and services which allow access to the database of numbers of all operators compiled in a number information system database;

(k) phonebooks and directory listings which allow customers of one operator to have a listing in another operator’s directory;

  • calling card or charge card facilities which enable an operator to provide its customers with access to another operator’s charge card platform so that calls are made and charged to the calling or charge card;

(m) number portability, which is a facility that allows a customer to keep his or her telephone number in circumstances where the customer would have to change it, and it includes operator portability where a customer keeps his or her telephone number after changing telecommunication operators when the customer buys his or her telecommunication services forms, if he or she remains at the same geographic location;

(n) intelligent network interconnection, which is the interconnection of advanced network services like cashless calling, call forwarding and other related value added services where an interconnect provider provides customers of interconnect seekers with signaling, database access and call control capabilities; and


(o)       access to service providers, which is a transit service to allow interconnect access to a transit service.

  1. Interconnection charges and cost accounting systems
  1. Charges offered by an interconnect provider for interconnection on its network shall follow the principles of transparency and cost orientation defining the sharing of costs for the facilities used by both parties like the interconnect links used for both way traffic.
  2. Shared costs include—
  1. payment for the elements of interconnection links relating to a point of

interconnection;

  1. chargeable network elements like network segments and distance;
  2. fixed costs elements;
  3. call charge or other charge method, like, flat charge;
  4. chargeable call elements like conversation time or successful calls;
  5. time of day and time of week variations; and
  6. mechanisms for reviewing and changing interconnect prices.
  1. Where charges for call conveyance are distance-based, the geographical reference point for a call origin shall be defined.
  2. In applying the cost oriented pricing regime, an interconnect provider shall ensure that all charges are based on the same costing principles and cost allocation basis in order to ensure that—
  1. interconnection charges are kept separate from any universal service

obligation contributions or access deficit contributions that may be applicable;

  1. interconnect seekers pay for only those elements of the network that are

necessary for the service agreed upon for them to use and that these are duly taken into account in the charging structure to reflect optimum routing factors;

  1. interconnection pricing enables new entrants to plan the location of their

points of interconnection in a way that allows them to minimise costs;

  1. interconnection pricing is subject to review on a retroactive basis, to

resolve a dispute or reflect contemporaneous pricing; and

  1. interconnection prices are published in a price list and updated as

appropriate.

  1. A cost-oriented pricing regime for interconnection has features that—
  1. ensure that there is no discrimination in the price paid by an operator with

significant market power network, an interconnection operator and an operator with significant market power’s retail business;

  1. ensure that there is transparency of the prices paid and of the relevant

costs behind the accounting separation, based on independently audited accounts and that this is a key requirement to give transparency of the prices paid by an operator with significant market power’s retail business for the use of the network;

  1. ensure that the cost allocation methodology reflects how a new entrant

makes its investment decisions, and that prices are cost-oriented, reflecting only relevant costs and based on a forward-looking long-run average incremental costing methodology or its equivalent;

  1. ensure that interconnection prices are based on the efficient provisions of

the relevant economic and not accounting period;

  1. ensure that an operator with significant market power has no opportunity

to engage in anti-competitive pricing behaviour; and

  1. have sufficient checks on an operator with significant market power’s

pricing methodology.

  1. Charges for interconnection offered by an interconnect provider shall be sufficiently unbundled so that the interconnect seeker is not required to pay for anything not strictly related to the service requested.
  2. An interconnection seeker shall charge individual prices for each network component or facility provided to the interconnect seeker and the tariff structure comprising the interconnection charges may be divided as follows-
  1. charges to cover initial implementation of the physical interconnection,

based on the costs of providing the specific interconnection requested, like specific equipment and resources and compatibility testing;

  1. rental charges to cover the on-going use of equipment and resources; and
  2. traffic related charges, for the conveyance of traffic to and from the

interconnected network, like the costs of switching and transmission, which may be on a minute basis, or on the basis of additional network capacity required.

  1. Interconnection charges may, according to the principle of proportionality, include a fair share of joint and common costs, costs incurred in providing equal access and number portability and the cost of ensuring essential requirements like maintenance of the network integrity, network security in cases of emergency, interoperability of services and protection of data.
  2. An interconnect provider shall publish the following elements of its cost accounting system used in the calculation of interconnection charges, in order for the other operators to ascertain that the charges are fairly and promptly calculated—
  1. the cost standard used including fully distributed costs, long-run average incremental costs, marginal costs, stand-alone costs, embedded direct costs, including the cost base used, for example, historic costs based on actual expenditure incurred for equipment and systems or forward- looking costs based on estimated replacement costs of equipment or systems;
  2. the cost elements included in the interconnection tariff identification of

all the individual cost components, which together make up the interconnection charge, including the profit element;

  1. the degrees and methods of cost allocation, and in particular the treatment

of joint and common costs and the details of the degree to which direct costs are analysed, and the degree and method by which joint and common costs are included in interconnection charges; and

  1. accounting conventions used for the treatment of costs, covering—
  1. the time-scale for depreciation of major categories of fixed asset

like land, buildings, and equipment; and

  1. the treatment, in terms of revenue against capital cost of other

major expenditure items, like computer software and systems, research and development, new business development, direct and indirect construction, repairs and maintenance and finance charges.

  1. Accounting separation

(1) An interconnect operator shall keep separate accounts for their telecommunication activities, as if the telecommunication activities are carried out by legally independent companies.

  1. An interconnect operator shall keep separate accounts for; activities related to interconnection including interconnection services provided internally, activities related to interconnection including interconnection services provided to other operators, and any other activities.
  2. The accounts shall identify all elements of cost and revenue, the basis of their calculation and the detailed attribution methods used, related to their interconnection activity, including an itemised breakdown of fixed asset and structural costs.
  3. The accounts shall be submitted to independent audit and published.
  1. Billing, collection and settlement of accounts
  1. Each interconnect provider shall establish reciprocal compensation arrangements for transport and termination of telecommunications traffic with any interconnect seeker.
  2. A reciprocal compensation arrangement between interconnect operators is one in which an interconnect operator receives compensation from the other for the transport and termination on the operator’s network facilities of local telecommunications traffic, that originates on the network facilities of the other interconnect operator.
  3. A telecommunications operator’s rates for transport and termination of telecommunications traffic shall be established on the basis of cost-oriented pricing.
  4. Rates for transport and termination of telecommunications traffic shall be systematic and the rates that an interconnect seeker assesses upon an interconnect provider for transport and termination of telecommunications traffic shall be equal to the rates that an interconnect provider assesses upon an interconnect seeker for the same services.
  5. The terms and conditions for reciprocal compensation shall be considered just and reasonable where—
  1. they provide for the mutual and reciprocal recovery by each operator, of

costs associated with the transport and termination on each operator’s network facilities of calls that originate on the network facilities of another operator; or

  1. they determine the costs on the basis of a reasonable approximation of the

additional costs of terminating the calls.

  1. An interconnect operator may make arrangements that afford the mutual recovery of costs through the offsetting of reciprocal obligations, including arrangements that waive mutual recovery, such as bill-and-keep arrangements or authorising the Commission to engage in any rate regulation proceedings to establish with particularity the additional costs of transporting or terminating calls, or to require interconnect operators to maintain records with respect to the additional costs of those calls.
  1. Changes in the network
  1. Network changes apply to—
  1. changes of physical network, like switch closure or re-location; and
  2. upgrade of electrical or signalling specification.
  1. Each interconnect operator shall notify the other of any significant changes made in the network, that may affect the conveyance of calls.
  2. A changing party shall pay the costs of the other operator where the changing party’s alterations cause the other party to change its system in order to continue conveying calls, except where the change is agreed upon or where the alteration is part of a planned upgrade programme.
  3. Whenever there is a planned network change, an operator carrying out the change shall issue a public notice, including—
  1. the operator’s name and address;
  2. the name and telephone number of a contract person who can supply

additional information regarding the planned changes;

  1. the implementation date of the planned changes;
  2. the location at which the changes are to occur; and
  3. a description of the type of changes planned and information provided,

including references to technical specifications, protocols, and standards regarding transmission, signalling, routing and facility assignment as well as references to technical standards that are applicable to any new technologies or equipment that may otherwise affect interconnection; and

f) a description of the reasonably foreseeable impact of the planned changes.

  1. Until a planned change under this regulation is implemented, an interconnect provider shall keep the notice available for public inspection, and amend the notice to keep the information complete, accurate and up to date.
  2. An interconnect provider shall give public notice of the planned changes at a make or buy point, at least twelve months before implementation of the changes.
  3. Where an interconnect provider claims that the information required to be disclosed is confidential or proprietary, the interconnect provider’s public notice shall include a statement that the interconnect provider may make further information available to those signing a nondisclosure agreement.
  1. Facility sharing and collocation
  1. A telecommunications operator who has ownership or control of a telecommunications infrastructure or facility has a duty to share the infrastructure and facilities with other operators providing public telecommunications networks or services.
  2. The facilities subject to the obligation in subregulation (1) are—
  1. ducts and trenches for lines;
  2. poles and masts for line and radio communication; and
  3. physical collocation at premises for interconnection and local loop access.
  1. Collocation and facility sharing shall be negotiated in good faith, as a matter of commercial and technical agreement between a telecommunications operator with the facility to share and a requesting operator.
  2. An access provider shall have a reference offer and a standard price list for collocation and facility sharing which shall be publicly available.
  3. An access provider shall offer collocation and facility sharing at access prices that are non-discriminatory, reasonable and cost-oriented.
  4. An access provider is obliged to negotiate collocation and facility sharing agreements on the basis of a reference offer addressing the following issues—
  1. general sharing , which include—
  1. access and refusal;
  2. separation;
  3. standardisation;
  4. re-development or re-location;
  5. study and preparatory work;
  6. requirements on access seeker;
  7. liability;
  8. entiality;
  9. security;
  10. arbitration; and
  11. modification or termination;
  1. operation , which include—
  1. requirements on equipment;
  2. installation of equipment;
  3. maintenance;
  4. fault clearance; and
  5. access conditions for persons;
  1. provisioning, which include—
  1. time schedules;
  2. information requirements;
  3. constructional specifications;
  4. technical specification;
  5. delivery of access; and
  6. testing; and
  1. pricing, which include—
  1. standard prices;
  2. pricing of special requirements;
  3. sharing of common facilities; and
  4. penalties.
  1. The parties to an agreement, shall freely negotiate reasonable and non- discriminatory prices by agreeing on the pricing and cost sharing structures.
  2. Collocation and facility sharing information shall be exchanged between parties according to a staged process which gradually allows provision of increasing specific information to the parties, in the following stages—
  1. reference offer or agreement;
  2. planning;
  3. study;
  4. ordering;
  5. provisioning; and
  6. operating.
  1. An access provider shall provide an access seeker with the information necessary for negotiations.
  2. An access provider shall grant the facilities within reasonable time

scales.

  1. An access provider shall allocate capacity to an access seeker on a “first come-first serve” basis.
  1. An access provider shall refuse access in case of unavailable capacity and technical unfeasibility.
  2. The parties to an agreement shall develop standards for operational procedures such as maintenance, fault clearance, access, emergency, cleaning, safety and security.
  3. The regulations applicable to the duty to interconnect, negotiations, pricing, dispute resolution and time frame, shall similarly apply to collocation and facility sharing arrangements.
  1. Resale

(1) A telecommunications operator shall make its telecommunications services available for resale to requesting telecommunications operators on terms and conditions that are reasonable and non-discriminatory.

  1. A telecommunications operator providing resale services shall offer services that are equal in quality and on the same terms and within the same provisioning time intervals, that the operator provides the services to other telecommunication operators including end-users.
  2. The regulations applicable to the duty to interconnect, negotiations, pricing, dispute resolution and time frame, shall similarly apply to resale arrangements.
  1. Pre-existing agreements
  1. All interconnection agreements between interconnect providers and interconnection seekers, including those negotiated before the coming into force of these Regulations, shall be submitted to the Commission for approval in accordance with these Regulations.
  2. Where the Commission approves a pre-existing agreement, it shall be made available to other parties in accordance with these Regulations.

ABEL KATAHOIRE, Chairperson, Uganda Communications Commission.