UCC to detect fake phones in Uganda

A display of counterfeit phones

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), through its Executive Director Mr Godfrey Mutabazi, has confirmed the installation of equipment to detect counterfeit phones and to help eliminate counterfeits or second hand phones in the market.

The installed equipment will detect counterfeit phones so that at the point of purchase, a buyer checks with a telecom company whether the phone is genuine or not.

Speaking at the opening of a regional preparatory meeting for the World Telecommunications Standardisation Assembly (WTSA) 2020 in Entebbe, Mr Mutabazi said at, “As ICTs continue to transform the way we live, through the proliferation of OTT services and value added services, among others, universal standards are required to streamline connectivity, mobile finance, counterfeit devices, spam and cyber security, internet and other things.”

WTSA brings together African players in the telecommunications industry, including government representatives, experts, private sector players and academia to brainstorm on matters of interest ahead of the WTSA in Hyderabad, India, in November next year.

Mr Mutabazi also noted that the Uganda assembly is aimed at formulating policies to achieve respective goals as one African position. He said Africans face similar challenges dealing with counterfeits like the developed economies.

Asked why counterfeit communication gadgets are rampant in the Ugandan market, he said; “You cannot have technology for Uganda alone; the manufacturer does it for the whole world. Technology uses frequencies, so we have to plan for those frequencies. They don’t stop at borders. All countries must conform to a certain parameter so that the technology is relevant.”

In his speech, the ICT minister – Mr Frank Tumwebaze, noted that the preparatory meeting provided an opportunity for Uganda and other African countries to align their positions as they prepare submissions to WTSA 2020.

“This is of great importance to Uganda as a country seeking to become a leader in the development of Information and Communication Technologies and leveraging the same for our people’s development aspirations. Uganda is committed to the global agenda of harnessing information to improve people’s lives,” read his speech. Adding; “ICT experts need to make policies that enable the transformation of the society through the use of ICT.”

The African Telecommunications Union (ATU) secretary general, Mr John Omo also present at the forum, said that the new technologies and innovations in the ICT field continue to increase the standardisation gap between developed countries and developing countries. Uganda has proposed a number of policies, which will be discussed during the ongoing meeting.

Mr Mutabazi said: “Currently it is difficult to trace the sources of nuisance calls or location of a caller in emergency situations. Number spoofing is another challenge. Callers are still able to manipulate caller identification information in order to falsify their name and phone number. This can easily facilitate fraud and other adverse activities.”


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