The major mobile
networks have now installed pay phones using either cards or coins
in all areas in which there is mobile coverage. There are still
a few towns which have no mobile coverage but do have land line
phones at the Post Office. However, it is expected that all towns
presently covered by the land line system will have mobile coverage
at the end of 2002.
To make a phone
call home using a land line go to the local post office where you
will either have to buy an international phone card or you will
be shown to a boothe and your call will be put through when connected.
To call a UK Cellphone in Uganda just call the normal UK number. eg
07802 200886. To make a call from a UK Cellphone in Uganda to the
UK dial eg. + 44 1623 883505. Note BT and Vodafone both advise you
to use the + sign rather than the international dialling code of 00.
You should also note that the costs of accepting incoming and making
outgoing calls can be substantial. Consult your operating company
for specific charges.
Calling Uganda from the UK is much easier than the other way round.
The dialing code is 00 256 41 for Kampala and for most mobiles it
is 00 256 77 Please consult the BT Operator or Mobile Phone Operator
for up to date information.
Once in Uganda you can purchase a SIM Card from any one of the operators
and swap it for your UK Operator's SIM. This will put you directly
onto the Uganda Nework with a Uganda Number.
bother you might well ask? The answer is simple. If you are one of
a group and wish to keep in touch with your group members or ring
Uganda numbers all of your calls will be made at local rate avoiding
International Roaming costs. You calls back to the UK will be at Uganda
rates, often less than UK charges and your incoming calls from the
UK will avoid you being charged for the part of the call from the
UK to Uganda.
disadvatage is that you will have to give people your temporary Uganda
number and once when leaving Uganda your number will be removed from
the system if not used for 3 to 6 months depending upon the operator.
MTN would not re-activate old numbers but Celtel were advertising
that they would.
is presently strong competition in Uganda to attract customers so
special deals are available. In April 2002 a SIM card operating on
MTN cost 20,000 UgS which included one months connection and 5,000
UgS in Air Time. In May Celtel were offering free SIM Cards and no
monthly connection charge.
phone needs to be suitable for use in Uganda. All Vodafone, 02
(BT Celnet) and T-Mobile (One2One) will work with a SIM change providing
that they are not "simmed" to only work with one specific
nework or provider. For example some Barclaycard Phones operating
on 02 would not work until a Special Code was
is pointless trying to re-sim Orange Phones unless they are dual band
or tri band ie operating on 1900 and 900 frequencies. Also Orange
phones are chipped to operate only on Orange and need to have a special
code to release them. Orange charges to have a phone released - usually
have no information on pay as you go mobile phones but experience
was that some work and some do not once a new SIM card is installed.
So now you have a Uganda Number. On MTN this will start with 077 eg
077 123456 and from outside the UK 00 256 77 123456. Just tell your
friends in a phone call home what your new number is or send them
a text message. None of the Uganda Pay as You Go operators presently
offer roaming outside Uganda so if you are going to other countries
in E Africa your phone will not work. Celtel say they are introducing
Pay as You Go Roaming in 2003 and the others will no doubt follow.
Roaming is available on all operators to anyone having a Contract
or Post Pay Phone but you do need to sign a 12 month contract for
UTL Mango does not seem to comply with the International convention
on dialing and requires 000 and not just 00 or + for its Mobile International
now offer a cell identification facility. This means that if you are
connected to the Iganga Cell your phone will show IGANGA. In Kampala
this even identifies major streets so you will know by looking at
your phone if you are in Parliament Avenue. However, in fringe areas
this can produce some odd results with you phone switching between
available cells. At one point a user seemed to walk the 50 miles from
one District to another by simply walking a couple of yards!
As in the UK relaibility is good near the mast, poor in fringe areas.
standard advice to relatives when going to a developing country used
to be "Don't expect any phone call home - the post card might arrive
before I get back". The Mobile Phone has meant that this is no longer
the case but there are some problems caused by the expectation of
being able to communicate.
Experience shows that direct contact with young people in foreign
countries on expeditions such as Uganda 2000 can lead to unnecessary
worries and concerns. Also that parents and friends become anxious
if a call is not made when expected or the UK end cannot reach the
phone in Uganda. It is vital that emergency contact should be made
through the advised channels. Our advice is not to use direct contact
unless absolutely necessary and if it is absolutely necessary you
should not be using direct contact. Remember your son, daughter, or
leader will may well be far away from Kampala for most of their stay
in Uganda. They will have limited transport available. To worry them
with a call that, for example, Great Aunt Sally is about to die can
only cause upset and do nothing to help Aunt Sally or the enjoyment
of the stay in Uganda.
Also, your son or daughter or leader will be facing challenging situations,
some physically challenging and others psychologically challenging.
Seeing, living and working with happy young people who are denied
the basics of life which we take for granted in this country is not
always easy to cope with. Seeing people damaged by disease, war and
cruelty can be distrubing. Your relative should have been well prepared
for this and as part of the plans there should be people on hand to
deal with the issues as they arise.
Please allow the leaders to deal with the problems - a phone call
home will only make you anxious about your loved one but you will
be quite incapable of helping.
In this way your Scout will come home enriched by the experience but
perhaps just a little questioning of the way we live.
Be assured that if you are needed you will be contacted immediately.
To be able to
use your telephone in the UK, Uganda or most of the countries covered
by GSM you will need a Tri-Band or International Phone with International
Roaming activated. The alternative is to hire a telephone.
added to the GSM Specification as a throw-in extra "texting
has become a way of life amongst young people. In Uganda it is an
essential tool. Text messages can be sent and received on all Networks
though coverage may not be complete even within the operators phone
area. If using a roaming phone (ie not using a Uganda Sim) the text
messaging service will operate normally rememeber increased charges
for international text message will apply. If using a Uganda Sim
you might need to set up the "Messaging Centre" to use
the Uganda operator's "Message Centre". You might need
to also use the + sign instead of 00 or 000 in the case of UTL Mango
to be able to send the message internationally.
has the advantage of being able to send a message without the receiving
phone being within coverage. The message is delivered during the