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UCC, FSDU partner to address competition, consumer protection challenges in use of customer digital trails

UCC and FSDU officials during an engagement. PHOTO/Courtesy)

KAMPALA – Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has entered marriage with Financial Sector Deepening Uganda (FSDU) to build capacity, over eighteen months to launch a regulatory sandbox and related initiatives.

The new partnership will enable the Commission better address the competition and consumer protection challenges in the use of MNO data trails through “more responsive, evidence-based legal and regulatory processes.”

FSDU is an organisation with documented leadership and expertise in Data for Financial Inclusion to appraise the Mobile Network Operator market conduct concerning third-party access to customer digital trails as well as the protection of customer interests.

According to UCC, the support will be in two phases.

“As a communications regulator, we are faced with the ever-increasing complexity of data infrastructure and market partnerships and anticompetitive practices that are likely to pose a major challenge for Communications regulation,” UCC noted adding that “this calls for a more dynamic regulatory framework to address the ever-evolving technology environment and requires collaboration across regulators of different industries.”

The first six-month will include diagnostics and feasibility to assess, inter alia: the Commission’s existing legal and regulatory requirements around data privacy and sharing with third-parties, ensuring a fair and competitive landscape of the data ecosystem.

Others market demand for alternative regulatory approaches to innovation, and the Commission’s capacity to implement a regulatory sandbox program.

UCC says this phase will entail diagnostic studies and direct technical assistance to the UCC through specialists.

The second phase will also run for six to 12 months with a focus on designing and implementing legal and regulatory tools and processes linked to a regulatory sandbox or related initiative to support and learn from innovation in Uganda’s data ecosystem.

To this end, UCC says the data eco-system Inquiry aims at; providing a scoping review of current commercial conduct with respect to the use of data held by MNOs and digital service providers.

“Identify consumer protection and competition abuses (for example; refusal to share, excessive pricing of services, exclusive dealing, among others)

“Assessing operator compliance readiness for new statutory obligations

“Develop new regulatory proposals to promote safe and competitive use and entry of data-centric business models and services.

The DPPA provides guidance on the treatment of consumer data which provides a good foundation for the protection of personal data.

This inquiry aims to build on this to unlock commercial opportunities and innovations in the use of non-personal data.

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