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Uganda

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Basics Edit

Uganda has a pretty crowded mobile market and the following network operators:

  • MTN
  • Airtel Uganda
  • Vodafone
  • UT Mobile (by Uganda Telecom)
  • Africell (formely: Orange Uganda)
  • Smart Telecom
  • Smile (on 4G only)

In 2014 Airtel took over #3 network Warid and Africell bought out Orange in Uganda. In 2015 Vodafone entered the market and Smart Telecom took over the licence of Sure Telecom. 2G/GSM is on 900 and sometimes 1800 MHz, 3G up to DC-HSPA on 2100 MHz.

4G/LTE started on MTN, Vodafone, Africell and Smile so far in major cities, while on UT Mobile and Smart only 3G is available. Airtel has lauched 4G/LTE in the countryside, but doesn't market it yet.

All the mobile operators have their own money transaction system. Like in most of Africa you can use your SIM card as a payment system too.

In 2016 the government restricted access to social media platforms ordering the shutdown of Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, and mobile money services for 4 days on the eve of the presidential elections. The same platforms were blocked again in the lead up to the presidents inauguration.

MTN Uganda Edit

MTN

MTN is the market leader in Uganda with 1/2 of all customers. It has the best coverage, uses DC-HSPA+ in some regions as only provider and started 4G/LTE in Kampala on 2600 MHz with only 86 BTS stations so far: Coverage map. Thex started with TD-LTE, but relaunched sood with FD-LTE on this frequency.

Availability Edit

Prepaid SIM cards are available in their stores and a lot of sales outlets in the country. Start-up price is UGX 2,000 with 500 UGX preloaded.

Data feature packages Edit

Default data rate is 0.8 UGX per KB. A monthly 15 MB data is free of charge to all customers who use their first 30 MB of the month. For more better add one of these bundles:

MTN Uganda

For a closer look, click on the pic

For subscription type *150*1#. Night shift is valid from midnight to 6am.

Roaming option Edit

In all MTN-branded networks in Africa and elsewhere you can roam at a relatively low price of 0.8 UGX per KB for data.

More info Edit

Airtel Uganda Edit

Airtel

Airtel Uganda, owned by Indian Bharti Airtel, is the biggest rival of MTN with 1/3 of customers, since it acquired the no.3 network in 2013. It gives good coverage on the now unified network in 2G and 3G, but can't match MTN: 3G coverage map. For 4G/LTE they are testing it on the countryside without having it launched yet.

Availability Edit

Prepaid SIM cards are available in their stores and outlets airtel-shops. Top-ups can be bought everywhere.

Data feature packages Edit

Default data rate is 0.75 UGX per KB. By dialing *175*20#, you get free 20 MB once every calendar month. This is valid for 7 days from time of opt-in. For more data add a bundle:

Airtel uganda

to enlarge, click on the pic

For subscription type *175#, to check data volume *175*4#

More info Edit

Vodafone Edit

Vodafone

The British mobile giant Vodafone entered the market in 2015 through a strategic agreement with Afrimax, a group focused on offering 4G services in sub-Saharan Africa. 7 months after launching in the country, they've already signed up more than 100,000 customers.

4G/LTE data services are currently available in the capital and Entebbe and between. Coverage of other cities will be added soon. Outside of the two named cities, subscribers will have access to 2G, whilst 3G services are also available in some areas. According to network tests in 2016 Vodafone had the slowest speeds of all providers in 4G/LTE. It uses pretty unusual TD-LTE on 2600 MHz (band 38): 4G/LTE coverage map. Check your device first, it it carries this band.

Availability Edit

Their SIM starter packs are sold for 2,000 UGX at their stores and outlets (locator) in mini, micro or nano format. It comes with 70 MB valid for 7 days.

Data feature packages Edit

Out-of bundle data is charged at a rate of UGX 49 per MB. They offer a big variety of bundles:

  • daily bundles (= 24 hours):
    • 50 MB: 1000 UGX
    • 1 GB: 2500 UGX
  • weekly bundles (= 7 days):
    • 200 MB: 5900 UGX
  • monthly bundles (= 30 days):
    • 500 MB: 19,900 UGX
    • 1 GB: 29,900 UGX
    • 2 GB: 49,900 UGX
    • 5 GB: 84,900 UGX
    • 10 GB: 109,900 UGX
    • 20 GB: 220,000 UGX
    • 40 GB: 330,000 UGX
    • 80 GB: 450,000 UGX
  • 90 days bundles:
    • 50 GB: 424,900 UGX
    • 100 GB: 624,900 UGX

Subscribers activate the plans via *132# or online. Tethering / hotspot use is allowed.

More info Edit

Uganda Telecom (UT Mobile) Edit

Uganda Telecom

UT Mobile is the cellular section of the now privatized former state provider Uganda Telecom. But it has a limited coverage on 3G in the country. So better make a network check before.

Availability Edit

Their SIM cards are sold in their stores and outlets.

Data feature packages Edit

Ugande telecom

Subsscribe by typing *160#

More info Edit

Africell (formerly Orange Uganda) Edit

Africell2

Africell, formely known as Orange Uganda, is the 4th provider and a secret recommendation, if you have coverage, which is somewhat limited. Where you have coverage, it's quite fast and reliable. 3G has DC-HSPA+ with up to 42 Mbps. In 2014 they started 4G/LTE in Kampala, Jinja, Entebbe and Gulu on the 800 MHz frequency (on band 20). It has according to reports very high speeds where available.

Availability Edit

Their prepaid SIM card is sold at their stores (for locator click on 'find us') for 1,500 UGX containig 10 domestic minutes. Default data rate is 0.8 UGX per KB. You can add these data packages.

Data feature packages Edit

Africell neu

for more info, click on the pic

Subscribe package by *133#. Check balance by *131#

More info Edit

Smart Telecom Edit

Smart-0

Smart Telecom owned by Industrial Promotion Services (IPS), a Kenyan-based infrastructure developer, launched mobile networks in Tanzania, Uganda and Burundi. In Uganda they started a 3G network on 2100 MHz in 2014 with a very limited coverage so far. While they offer the lowest prices right now, it's only up to 3G/HSPA, but called "4G" which is unusual in Africa.

Availability Edit

Their SIM card is mostly sold at only 500 UGX in their stores and outlets.

Data feature packages Edit

You can add one of these packages with the lowest prices in the county:

Smart Uganda

for a closer look, click on the pic

More info Edit

Smile Edit

Smile

Finally Smile actually launched the first 4G/LTE network in Uganda in 2013 on the 800 MHz frequency. In 2016 they cover Kampala, Entebbe, Wakiso, Mukono, Mbarara, Masaka, Masindi, Fort Portal, Kabale, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja and Tororo 4G coverage map. Be aware that this is only in cites and suitable for travelles. You don't have a fallback to 2G or 3G, but stay on 4G/LTE only. Where you have coverage. you will get fast speeds.

Availability Edit

Their SIM cards can be bought alone or with a Mifi or router in their stores (list). When you bring your own device, be sure it has 800 MHz LTE and coverage.

Data feature packages Edit

These data packs for 4G/LTE can be added to the SIM plan:

Data Validity max. Speed Price
unlimited 30 dayy 6 Mbps 330,000 UGX
25 GB 30 days 2 Mbps 79,000 UGX
1.5 GB 24 hours 2 Mbps 12,000 UGX
10 GB 60 days 6 Mbps 145,000 UGX
1 GB 60 days 2 Mbps 32,000 UGX
1.5 GB 60 days 2 Mbps 60,000 UGX
500 MB 60 days 6 Mbps 20,000 UGX
3 GB 60 days 6 Mbps 75,000 UGX
5 GB 60 days 6 Mbps 90,000 UGX
20 GB 60 days 6 Mbps 250,000 UGX
50 GB 60 days 6 Mbps 530,000 UGX
100 GB 60 days 6 Mbps 1,020,000 UGX
20 GB # 60 days 6 Mbps 200,000 UGX
10 GB # 60 days 6 Mbps 110,000 UGX
5 GB # 60 days 6 Mbps 60,000 UGX

Packages can be activated in shops or online. # stands for nighttime and weekend use only. They are valid on Monday to Thursday from 7pm to 7am and on Friday from 7pm to 7am the following Monday.

More info Edit

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