Telecom networks in Uganda currently supporting 4G LTE and their speeds

LTE Mast

4G LTE is the current mobile network technology rim in the industry. The Usain Bolt of mobile data speeds.

If you want to cool before your friends, then you are better off know what 4G LTE actually means. 4G means the fourth generation of data technology for cellular networks ̶ following 3G, the third generation. LTE stands for Long Term Evolution. It’s a very technical process for high-speed data for phones and other mobile devices.

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The standard promises theoretical speeds of up to 100Mbit/second. That’s twice as fast as 3G+ and about 5 times faster than 3G. Remember the keyword here is “theoretical” meaning these are Lab speeds. Under real world conditions, the speeds are a lot less as we shall see shortly.

Telecoms supporting 4G LTE

Vodafone Uganda which is the latest mobile network in Uganda entered the market as a “4G LTE” network. That means, if you have a 4G LTE smarphone or Mi-Fi, you are make the best of the Telecom’s network. However, Vodafone’s 4G LTE network is also “backward compatible”. Simply put, if you have a 3G phone, it can still comfortably work on the network.

Smile Communication was arguably the first to launch a real 4G LTE network in Uganda back in 2012. MTN Uganda follows with its own 4G LTE network around April 2013, then Orange now Africell launched its 4G LTE network in July 2013.

Network4G LTE Release date
Smile Communication2012
MTNApril 2013
Orange/AfricellJuly 2013
VodafoneNov 2014

Who has the fastest 4G LTE Network?

Techjaja at the beginning of this year carried out independent speed tests across all data networks. The local Tech blog carried out “tests five times to calculate fair average and maximum download speeds on the respective carrier’s data modems, with all devices being wiped and reset beforehand”

NetworkAverage speedMaximum speed
Africell 11.5 Mbps19.07Mbps

From their findings, you can see that none of the networks even hits half of the theoretical 4G LTE speeds. Vodafone Uganda comes off as the slowest 4G LTE provider which is a bit disturbing since its still new in the market without many subscribers hooked onto the network. Smile gets a head of Vodafone, but it’s Africell and MTN Uganda that fight for the top spot. Africell beats MTN on average speeds, but MTN edges it out on Maximum 4G LTE speeds recorded.

Now Airtel Uganda, Uganda Telecom and Smart Telecom are still MIA in the 4G LTE frenzy. So they compete on 3G grounds, although still according to Techjaja’s speed review, they lag behind Africell and MTN Uganda on 3G Speed tests.

What are your experiences? Please share with us a screenshot of your own speeds tests you can do using this site in the comments below.


  • Elijah

    Smile for me. .

    • 13.51Mbps download and 14.83Mbps upload. Wow that’s so impressive. Meanwhile is that with a test remote server hosted within Uganda or outside? cc @rogekk:disqus @angelloobel:disqus

      • Elijah

        I do not know, just run the test and it picked up that server. Location is Ntinda.

      • Ronald Kuteesa

        from the pic above, it shows that he used smile server to test his speed. it explains why his ping is so good

  • Guest

    best speeds I’ve got with Vodafone

    • 7Mbps isn’t bad at all. This is good stuff from Vodafone. Thanks for sharing

    • Ronald Kuteesa

      which data plan is this?

  • SOL

    I always measure speeds of internet by how fast my social networks renspond. Over the last 3 month using sony xperia Airtel has been the best network for me. Speed is the issue here and Airtel’s HSPA is unbelievable. I tried MTN several time but it’s 3g, 4g quality is questionable. it’s not the best and at any-time. Smart telcom’s 3G isn’t bad at all, it’s only affected by poor network coverage in some places.

    • Hey @disqus_D3S4g395df:disqus Thanks for sharing. I can see your phone is compatitle with 4G LTE and 3G. Could you please use this website on your phone browser or download the “ookla” speed test App on your phone and share with us your results. It can help us benchmark with what other users results are. Let us know your mobile network and then the mode (4G or 3G). Thanks

  • Ronald Kuteesa

    Only problem am having with vodafone is their NAT type. Its strict meaning joining/playing online games is very hard

  • Wamala Andrew

    You are right, Africell has the fastest 4G LTE, it downloads superfast however, it so costly. I used it for one day with my new Lenovo A6000 but I had to giveup the line and opted for Airtel with 3.75G (As they call it) because mere opening of the google store I had used 100MBs of Date.

  • Mpagi Brian

    whatever the case i cannot subscribe to a network because their speed makes my eyes pop out. but cost and reliability. Vodafone is the fastest network in Kampala at present

  • Mpagi Brian

    vodafone is the best. both in cost and speed