Prepaid Data SIM Card Wiki


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

  • MTN Uganda
  • Airtel Uganda
  • UT Mobile (by Uganda Telecom)
  • Africell (formely: Orange Uganda)
  • Smart Telecom (3G-only)

And two players on 4G/LTE only:

  • Smile (on 4G only)
  • Tangerine (on 4G only), so far only for home use. Lycamobile Uganda plans to start here.

In 2014 Airtel took over no.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. In 2018 Vodafone Uganda filed for bankruptcy and ceased operations in the country.

2G/GSM is on 900 and sometimes 1800 MHz, 3G up to DC-HSPA on 2100 MHz. 4G/LTE started on MTN, Africell andSmile so far in major cities and spread to the countryside, Tangerine moved from CDMA to LTE, while on UT Mobile and Smart only 3G is available.

For good coverage, better stick to MTN or Airtel that share 90% of all costumers in the Ugandan market. All 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.


In 2017 the government through the Uganda Communications Commission has directed all providers and their customers to re-register all SIM cards in the country. The deadline was later extended to May 2017 and then to 2018 and led to a temporary halt selling SIM cards in the country. Operators have been advised by UCC to cease the sale of SIM cards through hawkers, street vendors, street agents and any other establishments that are not licensed by Kampala City Council Authority (KCCA) or other municipal and town authorities.

Later that year Uganda’s cellcos restarted the sale of SIM cards when they were able to verify applications against the National Identification & Registration Authority (NIRA) database.

Social Media Tax (effective July 2018)[]

Ugandan telecom operators have started applying a new government tax on social media OTT apps before users can access them. MTN, Airtel and Africell have issued a joint statement to inform customers how to pay a controversial new social media tax implemented by the government on 1 July 2018. The telcos have confirmed that users can pay the new excise duty on a daily, weekly or monthly basis through the mobile money service of the provider. The new fee is UGX 200 per day. Access to all services will be blocked unless the new charge is paid. This includes popular social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Google Hangouts, Yahoo Messenger, Instagram, YouTube and Skype.

In 2019 the new tax raised only 17% of what had been predicted. Reasons for the poor performance include mobile customers opting to install VPN software or waiting until they are in range of a WiFi connection before accessing social media apps. That's why the access ban was expanded to some VPN services too, that are popular to bypass the restriction.

Scratch card ban reversed[]

The UCC has reversed a ban on selling mobile airtime scratch cards following discussions with the country’s Ministry of ICT, Originally, only electronic recharges have been allowed for mobile top-ups. After the ban was introduced on 1 August 2018 MPs complained in parliament that their constituents had suffered loss of access to services and demanded that cellcos be allowed to continue selling the cards alongside electronic airtime recharges. Now again, you are able to buy scratch cards all over the streets.

MTN Uganda[]


MTN is the market leader in Uganda with more than 10 million customers, roughly half of the national user base. 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. They started with TD-LTE (B36), but relaunched soon with FD-LTE (B7) on this frequency.

MTN also manages a popular payment system called MTN MoMo.


Prepaid SIM cards are available in MTN stores and sales outlets in the country. There is a shop/stand at the Entebbe airport (EBB) in the hall where you collect your luggage. They will scan your passport, take a picture of you, and demand local cash (but there is an ATM in the same hall). Start-up price is UGX 2,000 with UGX 500 pre-loaded. SIM cards will only be activated after registration.

Top-ups called Easyload can be found everywhere on the streets starting from UGX 50. Check balance by *131#

Data feature packages[]

Default data rate is UGX 0.8 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:

Data Time Price Activation
60 MB 60 mins UGX 500 *150*14#
1 GB 0-6am UGX 2,000 *150*1#
15 MB 24 hours UGX 250 *150*1*1*1*1#
40 MB UGX 500 *150*1*1*1*2#
100 MB UGX 1,000 *150*1*1*1*3#
300 MB UGX 2,000 *150*1*1*1*4#
1 GB UGX 5,000 *150*1*1*1*5#
25 MB 30 days UGX 1,500 *150*1*1*3#
300 MB UGX 5,500 *150*1*1*3#
600 MB UGX 10,000 *150*1*1*3#
3 GB UGX 20,000 *150*1*1*3#
10 GB UGX 50,000 *150*6*1*2#
30 GB UGX 100,000 *150*6*1*3#
2 GB 90 days UGX 30,000 *150*1*1*4*1#
10 GB UGX 75,000 *150*1*1*4*2#
30 GB UGX 150,000 *150*1*1*4*3#

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

Social media[]

All access to social media is blocked in Uganda. To access social media through OTT apps, you need to pay an extra tax from 2018. This applies to all chat, messengers, Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype etc. as well as certain VPN services to bypass it. More information here.

  • daily: UGX 200
  • weekly: UGX 1,400
  • monthly: UGX 6,000
  • quaterly: UGX 18,000
  • annual: UGX 73,000

To pay from your balance, dial *105*3# or *165*2#

Roaming option[]

On some MTN-branded networks in Africa you can roam at a relatively low price of UGX 0.8 per KB for data.

More info[]

Airtel Uganda[]


Airtel Uganda, owned by India-based Bharti Airtel, is the biggest rival of MTN with 38% of customers, since it acquired the no.3 network in 2013. It gives good coverage on the newly merged network in 2G, 3G and 4G/LTE: coverage map.

Up to 2019 Airtel upgraded its entire network of 1,632 base station sites to 4G/LTE technology, twelve months after achieving the same milestone with its 3G rollout. Airtel launched 4G/LTE-based services in 2017 and covers 96% of the population with its 4G networks in 2019.

Airtel also runs a popular payment system called Airtel Money.


Prepaid SIM cards are available in their stores and outlets (airtel-shops). Top-ups can be bought everywhere on the street. Check balance by *165# or *185#.

Data feature packages[]

Default data rate is UGX 0.75 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:

Data Time Price Activation
15 MB 1 day UGX 250 *175*15#
40 MB UGX 500 *175*11#
300 MB UGX 2,000 *175*12#
500 MB 3 days UGX 3,000 *175*51#
1 GB UGX 5.000 *175*16#
3 GB UGX 10,000 *175*17#
150 MB 7 days UGX 2,000 *176*25#
400 MB UGX 3,500 *176*26#
1.17 GB UGX 7,000 *176*45#
4 GB UGX 15,000 *176*46#
7 GB UGX 20,000 *176*24#
500 MB 30 days UGX 5,000 *176*32#
1.5 GB UGX 10,000 *176*31#
9 GB UGX 30,000 *176*38#
20 GB UGX 50,000 *176*39#
25 GB UGX 90,000 *176*40#
65 GB UGX 150,000 *176*75#
4 GB 120 days UGX 39,000 *176*77#
10 GB UGX 78,000 *176*78#
20 GB UGX 130,000 *176*42#
85 GB UGX 450,000 shop
300 GB 365 days UGX 1,500,000 shop

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

Note for the access to social media sites over OTT apps, you need to pay extra taxes of UGX 200 per day, see Basics and MTN above.

More info[]

Uganda Telecom (UT Mobile)[]

Uganda Telecom

UT Mobile is the cellular section of the now privatized former state provider Uganda Telecom. But it has a rather limited coverage on 3G in the country. So better make a network check before. 4G/LTE is expected to be launched anytime. So far it cant't be recommended for travellers for data.


Their SIM cards are sold in their stores and outlets.

Data feature packages[]

Data Time Price
10 MB 1 day UGX 200
25 MB UGX 350
50 MB UGX 600
100 MB UGX 1,000
100 MB 7 days UGX 2,000
500 MB 30 days UGX 14,500
1 GB UGX 28,000
3 GB UGX 65,000
5 GB UGX 110,000
10 GB UGX 115,000

Activation is *100*5.

For access to social media through OTT apps, you need to pay an extra tax of UGX 200 per day. See Basics and MTN for details.

More info[]

Africell (formerly: Orange Uganda)[]


Africell, formely known as Orange Uganda, is the 4th provider and a secret recommendation, if you have coverage, which is still 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 (band 20).


Their prepaid SIM card is sold at their stores (for locator click on 'find us') for UGX 1,500 containing 10 domestic minutes.

Data feature packages[]

Default data rate is UGX 0.8 per KB. You can add these data packages.

Data Time Price
25 MB 24 hours UGX 250
50 MB UGX 500
150 MB UGX 1,000
350 MB UGX 2,000
600 MB UGX 3,000
1.2 GB UGX 5,000
unlimited* UGX 20,000
200 MB 7 days UGX 2.500
500 MB UGX 4,000
1.5 GB UGX 8,000
4.5 GB UGX 15,000
8 GB UGX 20,000
500 MB 30 days UGX 4,000
1.5 GB UGX 10,000
8 GB UGX 25,000
20 GB UGX 50,000
35 GB UGX 75,000
50 GB UGX 100,000
65 GB UGX 125,000
120 GB UGX 200,000
unlimited* UGX 350,000
4.5 GB 3 months UGX 40,000
12 GB UGX 75,000
30 GB UGX 125.000
55 GB UGX 200,000
120 GB UGX 400,000
150 GB 6 months UGX 500,000
320 GB 12 months UGX 1,000,000

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

Remember that you need to pay the OTT tax of UGX 200 per day for accessing social media through OTT apps. For more details see Basics or MTN Uganda. To pay enter *133#.

More info[]

Smart Telecom[]

Unbenannt - 1

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 quite limited coverage so far. While they offer the lowest prices right now, it's only up to 3G/HSPA.


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

Data feature packages[]

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

Data Time Price Activation
25 MB 24 hours UGX 449 *100*5*1*1*1#
50 MB UGX 599 *100*5*1*1*2#
120 MB UGX 699 *100*5*1*1*3#
250 MB UGX 999 *100*5*1*1*4#
500 MB UGX 1,199 *100*5*1*1*5#
800 MB UGX 1,599 *100*5*1*1*6#
1 GB UGX 2,199 *100*5*1*1*7#
50 MB 7 days UGX 2,699 *100*5*1*2*1#
120 MB UGX 3,399 *100*5*1*2*2#
500 MB UGX 4,399 *100*5*1*2*3#
1 GB UGX 6,399 *100*5*1*2*4#
120 MB 30 days UGX 6,499 *100*5*1*3*1#
400 MB UGX 8,499 *100*5*1*3*2#
1 GB UGX 9,999 *100*5*1*3*3#
2 GB UGX 18,999 *100*5*1*3*4#
5 GB UGX 24,999 *100*5*1*3*5#
10 GB UGX 48,999 *100*5*1*3*6#

For access to social media you need to pay the OTT tax of UGX 200 per day first. For details see Basics and MTN Uganda.

More info[]



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 not very suitable for travellers. 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.


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 (B20) and coverage.

Data feature packages[]

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

Data Validity max. Speed Price
1 GB 0-6am 2 Mbps UGX 3,000
100 MB 24 hours UGX 2,000
200 MB UGX 3,000
300 MB UGX 4,500
500 MB UGX 7,000
1.5 GB UGX 12,000
1+1* GB 7 days 4 Mbps UGX 6,000
2+2* GB UGX 12,000
5+5* GB UGX 26,000
10+10*GB UGX 42,000
15+15*GB UGX 52,000
unlimited 2 Mbps UGX 63,000
1 GB 30 days UGX 32,000
27 GB 4 Mbps UGX 179,000
500 MB 21 Mbps UGX 20,000
1.5 GB UGX 40,000
3 GB UGX 75,000
5 GB UGX 90,000
10 GB UGX 145,000
20 GB UGX 250,000
50 GB UGX 300,000
100 GB UGX 520,000
200 GB UGX 1,020,000

Packages can be activated in shops or online. (*) stands for nighttime use only.

For all access to OTT apps, a special tax of UGX 200 per day must be paid. See Basics and MTN Uganda for details.

More info[]