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Cheapest Data Bundles in Uganda from the Best Internet Service Providers in East Africa and Beyond

Updated: Apr 3, 2022



Today we will discuss some of the best Internet service providers with the cheapest data bundles starting here in Uganda. But wait, question, do you think everybody knows about the internet?


If you own a smartphone, you already know what the Internet is. Or you may not. Probably depending on how curious you might be.


Just to break down, for those that are curious to learn, the Internet started in the late 80s as a simple United States government project to help connect different departments in an organization communicate to each other faster and more efficiently.


The pioneers are two Bob Kahn (American electrical engineer) along with Vint Cerf who is widely known on Twitter as one of the “Fathers of the Internet,” who first proposed the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. The project started to become a success in the early 90s.


The TCP/IP — Internet Protocol also known as Transmission Control Protocol is a means by which people or devices communicate on the internet.


Now, with the power of satellites, and more innovative and powerful technologies, the Internet is a global computer network of billions of computers and electronic devices interconnected and providing a variety of information (Knowledge) and resources (communication facilities).


Now you can talk to your family thousands of miles away, shop Amazon in Uganda, book your flight with Emirates right on your phone and even renew your travel documents (Passport) at home, as long you are connected to the internet. Isn’t that cool?



Internet Service Providers (ISP)

Now it’s time for your question, What is an Internet Service Provider?


Simple, an Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an organization or company that lets you access the internet from home or office, usually with a daily or monthly subscription. They invest in various high-tech, super-fast cables called Fiber optic cables that transmit data at the speed of light.


Data or Mbs may be transmitted using several technologies, including dial-up, DSL, cable modem, router, wireless, or dedicated high-speed interconnects.


It then enables our smartphones to connect via WiFi using electromagnetic waves and via laptops, desktops, smart TVs, and PlayStations via internet cables or USB tethering.

ISPs may be a non-profit organization, commercial, privately owned, or community-owned.



Internet Terms you Should Know

Before we jump into the types of internet service providers you need to know, don’t you think we should learn the terminology used in the internet or online world? The internet language, internet slang words? Let’s do it.

  • Bundle — One or more internet services packaged in a subscription

  • Bandwidth — The amount of data that can be transmitted on a connection

  • Modem or Router — A device that connects you to the internet

  • Broadband —Broadband is one of the fastest and most reliable types of internet service. With a download speed of at least 25 Megabits per second (Mbps), and an upload speed of at least 3 Mbps.

  • Megabits per second (Mbps) — Data is measured in kilobits, megabits (Mbs). 1Mb = 1000 kilobits (Kbs) and 1000Mbs = 1GB (Gigabits), 1000Gbs = 1TB (Terabit) etc.

  • WiFi (Wireless Network) — Technology that allows wireless internet access

  • Long-Term Evolution (LTE) —A standard for wireless broadband communication for mobile devices and data terminals. The new and phones technologies now come with faster 4G or 5G LTE.

  • Fiber Optic Cable — A type of cable that transmits data at light speed.

  • Data Cap — A limit put on how much data you are allowed to use per subscription. Unlimited data plans shouldn’t have a data cap.

  • Upload Speed — How fast you can send files via the internet

  • Virtual private network (VPN) — A VPN encrypts/hides your data before it’s transmitted through the internet. See NordVPN or Atlas for example.

  • Access Point Name (APN) — To access the internet on your internet-capable mobile phone, it must first be configured with the appropriate internet settings. The ISP should provide their APN for you. You can also get these settings in a message when you insert a SIM Card into a phone.


Bundles in Detail

Internet service providers offer more than just the internet, their packages may have other telecommunications services including data communications access and telephone connection, cable TV access as we are going to discuss. The majority of telephone companies now function as Internet Access Providers.


Cheapest Internet Bundles in Uganda

When you talk about the cheapest and best internet service provider, you may talk about Lycamobile, RokeTelkom, MTN Uganda, Airtel, Smile Communications, and the like. But the best ISP keeps on changing over time. Plus, the majority of them are restricted to a certain area. Let’s look at my journey to finding the fastest internet service provider in Uganda.


1. Airtel


Airtel is one of the Telecommunications service providers in Kampala. Airtel was launched in Uganda in June 2010. Uganda’s leading provider of prepaid, postpaid mobile, & 4G services. One of the first MiFis I ever owned was an Airtel MiFi back in 2017 when I was still learning about the internet, the big thing, learning affiliate marketing and work from home platforms like Fiverr. Plus cool online graphic design tools like Canva.


My Airtel MiFi died. I didn’t ask for a replacement but instead, I moved on to Vodafone and Vodafone left Uganda just like Africell and Smart. Sad story.


Nevertheless, Airtel cannot miss from the list of the cheapest and best internet in Uganda because:

  • It expands to Kenya and around Africa

  • Pocket size MiFis allow internet access everywhere

  • Offers bundles that don’t expire (Chillax Bundles)

  • Has the MyAirtel App for easy internet balance check (Android & iOS)

MiFis are small pocketable devices that allow up to 30 or more people to connect and access the internet with up to 8 hours of battery life. Not to be confused with Routers. In addition to WiFi, routers have Ethernet cable pots. And you cannot move around with them like MiFis.


Did you know you can use your phone as a MiFi by making it a Hotspot?



Airtel Internet Pack List (Dail *175#)

Airtel offers various internet packages. I must say most of them are custom.


Chillax Bundles (Airtel Internet offers that DONT expire)

  • 1.5GB — for UGX 7,500

  • 4.5GB — for UGX 16,000

  • 7GB — for UGX 25,000

  • 15GB — for UGX 50,000

  • 40GB — for UGX 100,000

Daily Prepaid Bundle Plan (Valid for 24 hours)

  • 40 MB — for UGX 500

  • 300MB — for UGX 2000

  • 1GB — Night 12 am-6 am for UGX 2000

Weekly Prepaid Bundle Plan (Valid for 7 days)

  • 350MB — for UGX 3500

  • 1.17GB — for UGX 7000

Monthly Prepaid Bundle Plan (Airtel Internet offers for 30 days)

  • 500MB — for UGX 5000

  • 1.5GB — for UGX 10,000

  • 20GB — for UGX 50,000

  • 25GB — for UGX 90,000

  • 65GB — for UGX 150,000

Quarterly Prepaid Bundle Plan (Valid for 3 Months)

  • 4GB — for UGX 39,000

  • 10GB — for UGX 78,000

  • 20GB — for UGX 130,000

  • 85GB — for UGX 450,000

Learn from Home Bundle

Affordable data bundles for pupils and students to study and attend classes online in the comfort of their homes. Loaded at 12 am-midnight.

  • 1GB — or UGX 1500 (Duration: 24 hours)

  • 7GB — or UGX 9000 (Duration: 7 Days)

  • 30GB — for UGX 30,000 (Duration: 30 Days)

Note: Since they are targeted at children use to help parents monitor their learning without changing their Airtel internet settings, you can only use these bundles for Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, and selected Educational websites but not YouTube or Google search.


To recharge airtel broadband and other data plans, you can Pay through Bank, through Airtel Money, Credit or Debit card, or PayWay or the MyAirel App.


If you want more custom bundles, you may want to check out the airtel broadband plans or contact the Airtel Uganda customer care on Twitter, the official website or visit their head office — Airtel Towers, Plot 16A Clement Hill Rd or Call their customer service telephone 0705 100100


Airtel Is Regulated By Uganda Communications Commission.


2. MTN Uganda


MTN Uganda is a premium telecommunications network provider offering the best Internet, voice and Data Bundles, Mobile money services, Momo Pay (payment service), Cell Phone deals, and other business services.


MTN offers broadband and Internet products and other MTN services with wide coverage in Uganda countrywide. Headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa under MTN Group. MTN Uganda launched commercial services in Uganda in 1998.


The largest telecom company in Uganda, with over 11.2 million subscribers, and a customer base of more than 12 million. MTN is a pure-play emerging markets mobile telecommunications operator at the forefront of technological and digital changes.


We are not looking at how to buy data on MTN using airtime or how to convert airtime to data, or the MTN data promotions. Let’s look at data plans.




MTN Uganda Internet Bundles

For most of the MTN internet packages, to check your data balance, you simply Dial *131*4#


MTN Freedom Bundles (No Expiry date) Dial *150*6#

  • 80MB — for UGX 1000

  • 1GB — for UGX 5,000

  • 4GB — for UGX 15,000

  • 7GB — for UGX 25,000

  • 15GB — for UGX 50,000

  • 40GB — for UGX 100,000

Go! Bundles

  • 500MB — for UGX 4500 with 35 min to call MTN (Valid for 3 days)

  • 1GB — for UGX 20,000 with 750 min to call MTN (Valid for 14 days)

  • 6GB — for UGX 50,000 with 1,200 min to call MTN (Valid for 30 days)

Monthly Business Data Bundles (Valid for 30 days)

  • 300MB — for UGX 5500

  • 600MB — for UGX 10,000

  • 3GB — for UGX 20,000

  • 5GB — for UGX 30,000

  • 30GB — for UGX 100,000

  • 170GB — for UGX 550,000

Business Data Bundles (Valid for 90 days)

  • 2GB — for UGX 30,000

  • 10GB — for UGX 75,000

  • 30GB — for UGX 150,000

Quarterly Data Bundles (Valid for 3 Months)

  • 80MB — for UGX 1000

  • 1GB — for UGX 5,000

  • 4GB — for UGX 15,000

  • 7GB — for UGX 25,000

  • 15GB — for UGX 50,000

  • 40GB — for UGX 100,000

Share Internet Bundles (Valid for 30 days)

  • 3GB — for UGX 20,000

  • 10GB — for UGX 50,000

  • 30GB — for UGX 100,000

  • 170GB — for UGX 550,000

Internet for Business Bundles (Custom Pricing for Dedicated & SME)

  • Scale your bandwidth and increase your speeds as the need arises

  • Dedicated 24/7 support

  • High speed and reliable internet

  • Unlimited Internet throughout the month

  • Fixed internet service delivered over fiber, Ethernet, or LTE.

  • Guaranteed availability with competitive SLAs (Service Level Agreements)



By the way, in Nov 2021, MTN Uganda Limited announced the opening of its initial public offer (IPO) of 20% of its ordinary shares, following approvals by the Capital Markets Authority of Uganda (CMA) and the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE). If you were lucky to grab a share, Congratulations.


“With the opening of the IPO we are one step closer to our goal of broad ownership of our business across the Ugandan population,” said MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer Wim Vanhelleputte.


A unique digital channel would be available to retail investors for IPO subscription: the m-IPO portal, accessible via USSD and via the MyMTN App. Traditional payment channels would also be available across Uganda at Stanbic Bank, Absa Bank, and Standard Chartered Bank branches and authorized selling agents.


MTN has dedicated Customer Care representatives available 24 hours to attend to all your inquiries, complaints, and basic service needs. You can use the MTN customer service telephone number 0771 001 000, Toll-Free 100.


MTN Uganda is regulated by Uganda Communications Commission.




3. Roke Telkom


This is the one I am using as I write this blog post. First, because it’s the fairest package I have seen. With completely *Free Unlimited internet on all packages & plans during all weekend (Friday 7 pm to Monday 7 am), on all public holidays, and during off-peak hours (7 pm — 7 am). All that free internet for only UGX 112,000 or $37 per month. That’s for the start, without the 60GB that comes with this $37 with speeds of up to 10Mbps.


For those looking to work from home especially after your 9 to 5 job and do some extra work at night, this could actually work for you. This package is called Roke Classic Plus.


The initial installation costs UGX 300,000 or $100 and is done in 3 Simple steps:


Step 1: Visit the Roke Telkom website or any outlet and choose your plan.

Step 2: Sit tight and let the Roke Telkom team get your internet package ready. Your package comes with a free router and all the equipment required.

Step 3: Enjoy your broadband wireless connection! Also, get access to your own dashboard on the Roke Telkom online portal to monitor usage.



Roke Telkom Internet Packages Prices

These include both personal and business internet service packages.

Roke Classic Plus (60GB for UGX 112,000 per month)

  • Up to 10 Mbps

  • 60GB Quota (Data speeds drop to 1Mbps after quota)

  • Installation fee of UGX 300,000

Roke Unlimited Plus (150GB for UGX 280,000 per month)

  • Up to 10 Mbps

  • 150GB Quota (Data speeds drop to 1Mbps after quota)

  • Installation fee of UGX 300,000

Roke MEGA Plus (450 GB for UGX 728,000 per month)

  • Bandwidth of 10Mbps

  • 450GB with 300 GB Quota (Data speeds drop to 1Mbps after quota)

  • Free Internet on Weekends & Off-Peak

  • Installation fee UGX 500,000

Roke Enterprise (Custom Pricing)

  • Offers Wireless or Fiber connection

  • Dependent on location

Fiber to the Office (Custom Pricing Premium Service)

  • No Quota

  • Dependent on location

Note: Fiber to the Office is not to be confused with Fiber to the Home, the personal plan for UGX 100,000 installation fee at 5Mbps.



Roke Telkom Internet Access Points (RokeSpots)

Besides the internet packages, Roke also has internet hotspots called Rokesposts (Roke on the Go) which are wireless internet access points across Uganda. In partnership with Facebook, they are over 600 RokeSpots countrywide as of the time of this writing (Nov 2021) allowing almost everyone to enjoy a superior Wi-Fi connection that offers a remarkable internet experience at the most affordable prices.


You can find this Rokespot Wi-Fi service in coffee shops, restaurants, hostels, malls, and public places.


Rokespots WiFi Prices & Plans

1 Day access Voucher with OTT—Ushs 1,200

1 Week access Voucher with OTT—Ushs 6,400

1 Month access Voucher with OTT—Ushs 24,000


To be honest, I haven’t had the chance to try the Rokespots. But I think it’s worth testing. Roke also offers business services like web hosting services, Domain Registration, Email Hosting, Virtual Private Network, and other IT and Networking services.


Digital marketing in Uganda will definitely change with more ISPs like these.


You can find Roke Telkom customer care on Twitter or one of their offices.


Roke Telkom is regulated by the Uganda Communications Commission.




4. Smile Communications


Smile delivers affordable, high-quality and easy-to-use broadband access and communication services to customers across Africa. Founded in 2007. It launched its first commercial network services in Kampala, Uganda in November 2009, where it provided its customers with voice and messaging services, with or without the ownership of a handset.


Smile launched East Africa’s first 4G LTE network to the Tanzanian market, starting in Dar es Salaam, closely followed by the Ugandan Market. Smile also sells mobile phones like the KaDigitoo volte phone and Smile routers.


The Smile internet and network coverage keep on expanding every 18 months with reliable, SuperFast unbeatable 4G LTE internet. It’s now available in Kampala, Entebbe, Wakiso, Jinja and the list goes on.



Smile Data Bundles

Smile made me realize at some point that there is no unlimited internet. Most of the Smile unlimited plans I bought came with data caps. But the speeds, I can never complain. True Unlimited does really mean truly unlimited internet. Below is a list of Smile MiFi data bundles and mobile 4G LTE internet packs.


Smile Daily Data Bundles (Up to 21Mbps)

  • Unlimited Gold Daily — for UGX 15,000 (up to 10Mbps with 4GB FUP)

  • 400MB— for UGX 3,000

  • 750MB — for UGX 4,000

  • 1GB — for UGX 5,000

  • 2GB — for UGX 9,000

Smile Weekly Data Bundles — (Unlimited and Classic Speed varies)

  • Unlimited Bronze Weekly — UGX 65,000 (up to 2Mbps, 4GB daily FUP)

  • Unlimited Gold Weekly — UGX 80,000 (up to 10Mbps, 6GB daily FUP)

  • Super TrueUnlimited Weekly — UGX 90,000 (up to 2Mbps)

  • From 20GB KyookyaWiki — UGX 42,000 (Classic Bundle up to 4Mbps)

  • 1GB — for UGX 6,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 2GB — for UGX 11,500 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 5GB — for UGX 21,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 10GB — for UGX 35,000 (up to 21Mbps)

Smile Monthly Data Bundles — (Unlimited and Classic Speed varies)

  • Unlimited Silver Monthly— UGX 225,000 (up to 3Mbps, 4GB daily FUP)

  • Unlimited Gold Monthly — UGX 275,000 (up to 10Mbps, 8GB daily FUP)

  • Super TrueUnlimited Monthly— UGX 299,000 (up to 3Mbps)

  • Unlimited Essential— UGX 179,000 (Classic Bundle up to 21Mbps)

  • Unlimited Essential Plus — UGX 199,000 (Classic Bundle up to 21Mbps)

  • Unlimited Premium Plus— UGX 330,000 (Classic Bundle up to 21Mbps)

  • Unlimited Platinum Plus— UGX 550,000 (Classic Bundle up to 21Mbps)

  • 1.5GB — for UGX 10,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 3GB — for UGX 20,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 5GB — for UGX 27,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 10GB — for UGX 50,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 15GB — for UGX 61,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 25GB — for UGX 85,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 30GB — for UGX 100,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 50GB — for UGX 135,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 65GB — for UGX 150,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • 100GB — for UGX 200,000 (up to 21Mbps)

  • Data King — for UGX 222,000 (Data speed up to 21Mbps 115GB usage + 1GB daily when depleted)



Speeds drop to 128Kbps or up to 512Kbps after data caps for Fair-usage. Also, we haven’t mentioned the Smile Forever bundles(data that never expires)which you can only access using the MySmile App on Android or iOS (from Google PlayStore or the Apple App store). With the App, recharge is easy plus Checking your balance (Airtime, Data, and Voice minutes) is faster.


Recharge is easy with XpressRecharge, your MySmile login portal, using Mobile Money, VISA or MasterCard, the Tingg App — for Android is available on Google Play or via USSD code *252#. Follow instructions here.


For customer care, you can get Smile on Skype as smilecustomercare, Call 0720 100 100 or UCC Toll-FREE Line 0800 222 777.


Smile Communications Uganda Ltd. is regulated by Uganda Communications Commission.


5. Lycamobile


Lycamobile is the world’s largest international mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) and is the market leader in the international prepaid mobile calls market, with over 15 million customers across 23 countries.


Lycamobile operates in Uganda under its parent company, Tangerine Limited, which has been present in Uganda since 2008. Recently, Lycamobile invested over £250 million to expand its reach into new markets and develop new technology.


Lycamobile Uganda Data Bundles

You will enjoy this because Lycamobile data rates are not complicated at all. In fact, Lycamobile internet might be one of the easiest to buy for some people.


Daily Data (Valid for 24 hours)

  • 350MB — for UGX 750

Weekly S (Valid for 7 days)

  • 500MB — for UGX 1,500 (with 50 Lyca to Lyca Mins)

Weekly M (Valid for 7 days)

  • 5GB— for UGX 8,000 (50 mins, 20 SMS Lyca to Lyca + 20 National Text)

Weekly L (Valid for 7 days)

  • 10GB — for UGX 10,000 (100 mins, 20 SMS Lyca to Lyca, 20 National Text)

UG Super (Valid for 1 Month)

  • 20GB — UGX 15,000 (5000 mins, 50 SMS Lyca to Lyca + 50 National Text)

UG Mega (Valid for 1 Month)

  • 50GB —UGX 30,000 (5000 mins, 50 SMS Lyca to Lyca, 50 National Text)

UG Giga (Valid for 1 Month)

  • 100GB — for UGX 50,000 (With 5000 mins and 100 SMS Lyca to Lyca plus 100 National Text)



For Lycamobile best value data bundles with International SMS packages, please refer to the Lycamobile plans page on the website to see which countries are included.

You might already be asking yourself, how do you buy data bundles on Lycamobile Uganda?


Recharge is easy with your nearest Payway agent, or you can dial *252# (Transaction charges may apply from your MobileMoney Wallet and Airtime Balance) and follow the instructions. Alternatively, you can do it from the Front Desk of Lycamobile Uganda Head Office.


Lycamobile Uganda/ Tangerine Ltd, Head Office; Plot 77 Yusuf Lule Road; Opposite Garden City Main Entrance; Nakasero Kampala; Uganda- PO Box 37136


Lycamobile Uganda is regulated by Uganda Communications Commissions.



6. Zuku Fiber


Zuku is an Internet service provider in Kampala offering unlimited fast Internet, quality, and affordable Digital satellite TV with more Local and international Channels & Telephony.


It is the home of entertainment & communication when it comes to home & office internet, digital TV & telephone. Available in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Malawi & Zambia.


However, we are not going to look at the Triple Play (Internet, TV & Telephone) Packages. Even though they are available in all areas within the Zuku fiber network coverage — Naguru, parts of Bukoto, Ntinda, Bugolobi, Mbuya, Mutungo, and Luzira among other Zuku internet Uganda coverage.


Zuku Internet Uganda Packages (Unlimited Internet speed varies)

  • 10Mps — UGX 149,000

  • 20Mps — UGX 199,000

  • 40Mps — UGX 319,000

  • 100Mps — UGX 539,000

For a better entertainment experience and some additional costs, you can combine your Zuku fiber internet packages with Zuku Triple Play(Zuku Internet, Zuku TV channels & Telephone services) Packages.


All Zuku internet packages come with Free Installation, Free WiFi Router, and Free Zuku to Zuku calls + Free Digital TV Decoder if you subscribed to the Triple Play bundle.


For Zuku customer care and support visit them at the 13th Floor, Diamond Trust Building, Kampala Road, Opposite Cham Towers Kampala, Uganda

Or use the Zuku Customer Service telephone numbers 031 222 4800, 020 072 4800 or Email: customer@zukutv.co.ug


Wananchi Cable(U) is regulated by Uganda Communications Commission.




Conclusion

Let's not make this longer than it already is. Thank you so much for reading this and hopefully, it helps you choose the cheapest and fastest internet provider in Uganda or the cheapest data bundles in Kampala and beyond faster.


Also, you should now know more about the WiFi prices in Uganda and the most popular Unlimited internet packages, plans in East Africa and beyond.



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Feb 18, 2023

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Mugabi Imran
Mugabi Imran
Jun 26, 2023
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