UCC License requirements for provision of online data communication and broadcasting services in Uganda

All persons currently offering or planning to commence the provision of online data communication and broadcasting services including but not limited to blogs, online televisions, online radios, online newspapers, audio over IP (AoIP), Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), Video on Demand (VoD), Digital Audio radios and televisions, internet/web radio and internet/web television are required to obtain authorisation from UCC before providing such services to the public.

By a public notice dated 7th September 2020, UCC has given notice to all persons engaged in the provision of the above services to accordingly regularise their operations by obtaining the necessary authorisation by 5th of October 2020.

This requirement emanates from the recent move by UCC to regulate the communications sector in exercise of its mandate. The Uganda Communication Commission (UCC) was established under section 4 of the Uganda Communications Act, 2013 as the regulator of the communications sector that includes telecommunications, broadcasting, radio communications, postal communications, data communication and infrastructure.

On 8th November, 2019, the Uganda Communications Commission gazetted Eighteen Regulations to operationalise the Uganda Communications Act of 2013. Among the regulations are the Uganda Communications (Licensing) Regulations, S.I No.95 of 2019, which primarily provides for the above licensing requirements.  It is an offence punishable by a fine or imprisonment term or both to carry out any activity for which a license is required under the Act without the license.

The licenses required under the Act for specific licensable activities include a; telecommunications license; broadcasting license; radio communications license; postal services license; cinematograph theatre license; film or video works distributor license and value added services license. A person who is granted a license must operate in accordance with the law as well as the terms and conditions of the license.  The above licenses may be modified, renewed and transferred.

There are specific categories of licenses under the above heads as follows;

  1. Telecommunications license. A person who intends to provide telecommunications or telecommunication services regionally or nationally to acquire one or more of the following licenses. The  application is in Form A of the First Schedule to the regulations and the applicant is presented with various categories that include a ; Facility- Based License; Service- Based License; Public Service Provider License; Public Infrastructure License and General License  wherein the applicant chooses the appropriate category. The applicant is required to complete the application  form with the following, the applicants;
  • Particulars (names, physical address, postal address, Tel, Mobile No, Fax, email, TIN, VAT Reg);
  • List and particulars of directors; and certified copies of the company registration certificate, memorandum and articles of association (if the applicant is a company).
  • Financial status (share capital, loans, and a certified financial statement and accounts for the last three years);
  • Bankers and financial references;
  • Source of funding for the proposed project (US $.000 as share capital contributions or loan capital);
  •  Business, financial and funding plan for proposed investment for the first five years of operation including: a detailed business plan, assumptions to be used, financial ratios and the formula used in computing each ratio, forecast of internal rate of return, a detailed plan of the proposed capital expenditure and working capital requirements for the first five years, details of proposed financing plan and sensitivity analysis of the business plan;
  • Technical capacity and experience;(signed CVs of all key staff and all top management team)
  • Description of the proposed project;
  • Project site/utilities i.e maps, drawings, technical designs, land use/existing infrastructure, access roads, evidence of consultation with local authorities and neighbours.
  • Specific licenses required from other public authorities to undertake the project and their status eg NEMA Clearance Certificate;
  • Commercial aspects of the project;(whether its regional, national/domestic or international)
  • Impacts of the project on socio economics, cultural heritage, environment, natural resources and wildlife.

The application is submitted and goes through the due processes (verification of completeness, publication, public hearing, consideration by secretariat, decision on application and issue of license)

 

  1. Broadcasting License. There are various broadcasting license categories that include, Signal Distributor License; broadcasting Distributor;  Licenses for Public Broadcasting Services (Commercial Broadcasting, Community Broadcasting, Internet Protocal Television, Cable Television  Subscription  Service); Satellite Subscription Television Broadcasting Services, Satellite Broadcasting  Services, Subscription Management Service (Authorisation only); Landing Rights (Satellite Broadcasting Cable etc): Public broadcaster; Commercial Broadcaster; Free to Air Subscription; Non Commercial; Community (Non Commercial); Subscription Management Service and Landing Rights. The applicant is required to complete the application  form with the following;
  • Particulars of applicant (names, physical address, postal address, Tel, Mobile No, Fax, email);
  • Cover letter addressed to the Executive Director
  • Corporate status of applicant ( certified copy of Company Certificate of Registration or other charter document, memorandum and articles of association)
  • identification or passport of all directors
  • NGO constitution, partnership deed or society constitution (where applicable)
  • Income Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Tax Clearance
  • TIN Number
  • Bankers and financial references;
  • Business plan
  • Station management (organisational chart for the broadcasting team at the station, their names, address, telephone numbers, and CVs of key station management staff i.e. the Chief Executive Officer, Finance/credit controller, Programme Coordinator/Manager, Technical Manager, Customer Manager; a copy of the proposed program guide and list of producers.
  • Financing source,
  1. Radio Communications License or additional Spectrum( s.12 and 24)

The applicant completes Form C of the Second Schedule to the regulations by providing;

  • The particulars of the applicant (names, physical address, postal address, Tel, Mobile No, Fax, email, TIN, VAT Reg);
  • Selecting appropriate license category which include; Non Commercial spectrum uses for socially desirable services; commercial spectrum uses and additional spectrum.
  • List and particulars of directors
  • Financial status
  • Bankers
  • Funding (USD)
  • Main business activity
  • Technical capacity and experience
  • Description of radio service to be provided
  • Intended market distribution (regional or national)
  • Impacts of the project

 

The application is submitted and goes through the due processes (verification of completeness, publication, public hearing, consideration by secretariat, decision on application and issue of license)

 

  1. Experimental Radio Communications License ( R.40)

The applicant completes Form D of the Second Schedule to the regulations by providing;

  • The particulars of the applicant (names, physical address, postal address, Tel, Mobile No, Fax, email, TIN, VAT Reg);
  • Selecting appropriate license category which include; Non Commercial spectrum uses for experimental socially desirable services;
  • List and particulars of directors
  • Recommendations from Resident District Commissioner, National Counsel of Science and Technology, Ministry of Education and Sports, and Ministry of ICT and National Guidance.
  • Funding sources (USD)
  • Main business activity
  • Technical capacity and experience
  • Description of radio service to be provided
  • Intended market distribution (regional or national)
  • Impacts of the project

The application is submitted and goes through the due processes (verification of completeness, publication, public hearing, consideration by secretariat, decision on application and issue of license)

 

  1. Postal services license ( s.33)

The applicant completes Form E of the Second Schedule to the regulations by providing;

  • The particulars of the applicant (names, physical address, postal address, Tel, Mobile No, Fax, email, TIN, VAT Reg);
  • Selecting appropriate license category which include; Non Commercial spectrum uses for socially desirable services; commercial spectrum uses and additional spectrum.
  • List and particulars of directors
  • Financial status
  • Bankers
  • Funding (USD)

 

  • Main business activity
  • Technical capacity and experience
  • Description of postal service to be provided
  • Intended market distribution (regional or national)
  • Commercial aspects of the project (domestic, regional (EAC, Comesa region) or International.
  • Impacts of the project
  1. Cinematograph Theatre License ( Regulation 61)

The applicant completes Form F of the Second Schedule to the regulations addressed to the Executive Director, UCC and providing;

 

  • The location of the business premises, address, seat capacity, owner, occupier, and applicant and their status.
  • Vicinity/ neighbourhood of premises
  • Type of fire extinguisher
  • Convenience places available
  • The particulars of apparatus and equipment at the premises
  1. Film or video works distributor License ( Regulation 79)

The applicant completes Form G of the Second Schedule to the regulations addressed to the Executive Director, UCC and providing;

 

  • Names and address of applicant
  • Parts of Uganda where the film of video works shall be distributed
  • Category of distributors license and justification for that category
  1. Value added services license ( Regulation 85)

The applicant completes Form H of the Second Schedule to the regulations providing the following particulars;

 

  • Particulars of the applicant (names, physical address, postal address, Tel, Mobile No, Fax, email, TIN, VAT Reg);
  • List and particulars of directors;
  • Financial status (share capital, loans, and a certified financial statement and accounts for the last three years);
  • Bankers and financial references;
  • Source of funding for the proposed project (US $.000 as share capital contributions or loan capital);
  • Technical capacity and experience;
  • Description of value added services proposed to be licensed;
  • Commercial aspects of the project (national or regional);
  • Impacts of the project;

The application is submitted and goes through the due processes (verification of completeness, publication, public hearing, consideration by secretariat, decision on application and issue of license)