Kampala - Post Report Question and Answers

Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Bring an unlocked device and get a cheap local plan solely for the purpose of using mobile money. Keep your US number if you have ANY business at home or if you travel and want anything to work. The UG number will not work or roam anywhere, not even Kenya. I also use my US phone to send western union to my mobile money to pay for internet and other vendors and providers. - Jan 2024

We use locally purchases MTN sim cards. - Jun 2022

We brought our iPhones. It is inexpensive to buy a local SIM. SIM validity is the length of your visa. If you have a visa that expires 3 months of arrival, you need to go into your carrier’s office with your passport that has your new visa, otherwise, it will automatically stop working. It is good to have one local SIM for mobile money payment; this way you do not need to handle cash as much. Mobile money is accepted at supermarkets and you can pay most of your fees such as your internet fees, hotel deposits, membership fees, phone data, pay for Jumia. I recommend subscribing and downloading VPN on all your devices before your enter Uganda. - Dec 2021

We use Google Fi without much issue, but local SIMs are relatively easy and inexpensive. - Aug 2020

Definitely a local provider. - Nov 2019

Local service is cheap (MTN and Africell seemed pretty good). I used Google Fi for personal use and it worked fine. - Oct 2019

Bring your unlocked smart phone. SIM cards are super inexpensive. Airtime is really inexpensive, too. - Mar 2019

Local phone lines subjected to internet taxation and privacy may seem not as strong. That said, a U.S.-based number has some utility, particularly if you have a VPN service than can help protect your privacy. - Feb 2019

Google Fi works very well and gives you an American phone # and $10/GB data plus free texts. I also have a local number. - Jan 2019

Local phones can be purchased for as little as US$20, but those are not smart phones. The more expensive phones (iPhones, etc.) can be very expensive to purchase locally as well as other electronic products. It would be better to obtain a local plan as international (home) plans may impose roaming charges. - Dec 2018

I use a local provider. - Dec 2018

We brought our US phones and pay a small fee to keep our US numbers active. We also bought cheaper phones and put in a local sim card. All sim cards are prepaid and relatively cheap. There are a few companies all offering similar service at around the same price. - Oct 2018

Many people will get a phone that can take 2 sim cards. I have my US plan and also have a cheap phone with minutes that I use for local calls. Phone companies here will send spam text ads to your phone constantly. - Sep 2018

You’ll need a local provider. - Sep 2018

I only use my Embassy phone, but most use an iPhone or Android with a local voice and dataplan. - Aug 2018

Use a local provider as the cost is relatively cheap (for calls and data) and there's a good number of different providers to choose from. - Jun 2018

I have a magicjack ap on my cell phone to call people in the U.S. and a local provider for Uganda. It is the same deal as home internet; you don't pay by the month, you just have to buy data bundles and keep re-upping when they run out. - Jun 2018

They all rip you off and it gets very, very frustrating. I came with an unlocked iphone and use MTN, which have been decent for the most part. Avoid Africell as I set them up and found them stealing my data (they claimed I used 1GB of data in 15 minutes and 200GB in 5 months). For home internet, I use Vodafone unlimited at 10MB speed. It is very expensive at >300,000 UGX per month, but it ends up costing the same and it is much faster than other companies (we can actually stream if we want). Vodafone (I live in Kololo) is new and I suspect they will become corrupt with time. Others like Smile too, which seems to work better for Tank Hill. Be sure to check the quality of the connection based on your neighborhood. Be mentally prepared to be very frustrated when dealing with phone/internet as there are no regulations and there is a lot of corruption. - Aug 2015

Bring an unlocked phone from the States. Data is cheap and easy to buy. - Jun 2014

Plenty of plans to choose from. Recommend MTN, that is the contract the Embassy has, so MTN to MTN calls are free. - Oct 2013

Cell phones are easy to get locally, or you can bring an unlocked phone and pop in a local SIM card. Most phones are used with prepaid minute cards that you can buy anywhere, even roadside at a stop light. Super convenient. - Mar 2013

Everything is done via cell phone. There is now good competition between providers, so costs are coming down. - Sep 2009

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