The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has accredited Ostosho Media Ltd and Addmaya Motion Pictures Ltd to develop and maintain Price Comparison Websites (PCWs) for retail communication services for a period of one year.
The accredited companies will maintain websites to provide comprehensive and up-to-date sources for prices of various communication services and products.
The websites: www.price-check.co.ug and www.kompare.ug will be loaded with all the needed information that will enable consumers to compare prices of different service providers so that they can make informed decisions.
The inaugural PCWs are one-stop portals providing comparative pricing of different services such as prepaid and postpaid mobile voice, mobile broadband, fixed broadband, mobile value added, mobile financial, domestic and national courier rates, Pay-TV subscription rates, TV and radio advertising rate cards.
Other services include consumer/user service reviews and ratings similar to hotel ratings, broadband speed tests, frequently asked questions on emergent services and industry news.
UCC will maintain the supervisory control of the sites through an accreditation scheme to provide assurance on accuracy of tariff information, accessibility for the visually impaired, data comprehensiveness and transparence.
Specifically, UCC shall establish and oversee minimum guidance on site uptime and accessibility, pricing data accuracy, third party advertising, independent reviews, service ratings and ratings methodologies, user feedback and complaints.
Accredited PCWs shall be subjected to quarterly compliance audits and shall prominently display the accredited price calculator logo.
Promoting consumer wellbeing
It is the goal of UCC to promote consumer wellbeing and stimulate market competition through the regulation of communication service rates and services. This mandate is premised on Section 5(1) (e) of the Communications Act 2013.
Previously, UCC undertook retail price comparisons for select services and disseminated the same through print media. While the assessments have been well received by the customers, they deprive them of the flexibility offered by emergent online price calculators and comparison services. They are static and cannot be easily updated.
In addition, prints are comparatively costly and difficult to disseminate amongst the target audience.
It is now regulatory best practice for regulators to accredit or support independent PCWs to enhance the availability of up to date, comparable, reliable and dynamic tariff information. Ofcom, which is the United Kingdom communications regulator, for example, accredits a numbers of PCWs to provide price comparison services and they are managed through an accreditation framework.
Source: UCC website