UCC Undecided on Defective Samsung Product Ban

1953 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
This despite a global uproar about the phones which were discontinued by the manufacturer for battery issues, which caused some units to overheat and catch fire. The Note 7, which hit the market mid-august, was eventually recalled after 35 reported incidents of overheating smartphones worldwide.

The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has said it is still undecided on whether or not to ban the defective Samsung Galaxy Note 7 on the Ugandan Market.

This' despite a global uproar about the phones which were discontinued by the manufacturer for battery issues, which caused some units to overheat and catch fire. The Note 7, which hit the market mid-august, was eventually recalled after 35 reported incidents of overheating smartphones worldwide.

The recalled phones account for 1 million of the 2.5 million headsets that were manufactured. However, since it was announced, the number of exploding note 7's has quadrupled forcing the manufacturer to ask all users to shut down their phones for safety reasons.

"Stop using your device, back up your data and switch it off," Samsung said in a statement to Note 7 owners the day after it confirmed it had shut down its assembly lines.

It's on the basis of this that neighbors Rwanda through the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) issued a public statement banning the importation and distribution of the Samsung Galaxy Note 7 series.

In the statement dated October 12, RURA acting Director General of Patrick Nyirishema advised consumers who might have bought them from abroad to power them down and return them to the place of purchase. Airlines have also banned customers from using them on flights.

But Fred Otunnu, the director of Communication at Uganda Communication Commission told URN that although they have read in the media about the unfortunate incidences, they still need to establish the customer user experience before a decision can be reached.

"We are aware about the challenges related to the Galaxy Note 7 and we are working on it. We cannot merely jump and start asking for people to take back the phones because we are not certain," Otunnu says.

According to phone dealers in Kampala, circulation of the phones is minimal due to its cost. Fred Jjuuko a phone dealer in Kampala told URN that each of the phones would be sold at 3.7 million Uganda shillings on the Ugandan market.

He adds that he has cancelled his order for 10 devices after seeing negative reviews on the product. Another phone technician who preferred anonymity says that although other Samsung series have no issues, he has observed that the Neo and Galaxy heat up a lot and black out.

However Junior Kalibbala,  a Samsung user says he has not experienced problems yet.

Samsung is putting up a compensation scheme for users who had already bought the phone. Users will be offered the choice of either getting all their money back or swapping the phablet for an older, smaller-screened Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge phone plus a partial refund.

Over the years, phone manufactures have experienced battery related problems resulting into recalls. in 2007, Nokia recalled 46 million batteries over similar fears.

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.