A complete guide to borrowing airtime on MTN, Airtel, UTL and Africell Uganda

Airtime

Have you ever needed to make that call so bad and then you realise you do not have airtime? To make it worse, you are in an area where you do not have access to airtime even if you wanted to. Or let’s just say you are dead broke but you  still need to stay in touch with the people who matter to you. Telecoms in Uganda have had this service for a while now allowing users to borrow airtime (and for some data) and pay it back later. The Telecoms that provide the service in Uganda are Airtel, MTN, Africell and UTL. Smart and Vodafone Uganda don’t yet support this service.

Below is a mini comparison showing you the pros and cons of the service on each network.

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Airtel Berako

Formerly called Malako, Berako is Airtel Uganda’s airtime loan service that allows you to borrow airtime and pay when you next load airtime.

How to borrow Airtel Uganda Airtime: Dial *155# and follow the prompts

How Much you can borrow: Ugx 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 and 10,000

Selling Point: You can borrow up to Ugx. 10,000 (The highest amount) depending on your credit rating. You can also use your airtime to buy data, make calls, send SMS or even buy data bundles.

Conditions: 

  • Customers must have fully registered SIM cards
  • Active prepaid customers that have loaded airtime of at least 800/- in the last month
  • Customers who have paid back their previous balances
  • Customers who have had an active line for 90 days or more

Africell Wetase

How to borrow Africell Uganda Airtime: Dial *161# and follow the prompts

How Much you can borrow: Ugx 500, 1000 and 3000

Selling Point: You can use your airtime however you like whether you want to buy a data or voice bundle or even make calls or SMS. This puts Africell Wetase as one of the best because it doesn’t restrict how you use your borrowed airtime.

Conditions: 

  • Active prepaid customers that have loaded airtime of at least 5000/- in the last month
  • Customers who have paid back their previous Wetaase requests
  • Customers who have had an active line for 90 days or more

MTN Xtra time

How to borrow MTN Uganda Air time: Dial *146# and follow the prompts

How Much you can borrow: Ugx 500, 1000 and 1500

Selling Point: You can buy data with the borrowed airtime. You can check your Credit balance *146*6# or Credit status  *146*7#

Downside: MTN Xtra time gives you less than you borrow by deducting the interest on the money borrowed. If you borrow 1500, you get 1350 so that when you pay back, they deduct exactly 1500. Also you cannot use the borrowed airtime to buy call bundles. You can only use it to make calls, sms and  buy data. MTN’s USSD menu says you can borrow up to Ugx. 5000 but will only allow you borrow a maximum of Ugx. 1500.

Conditions: 

All MTN prepaid customers are eligible for MTN XTRA Time credit as long as

  • they have been on the MTN network for at least 6 months,
  • they used their mobile phone within the past 90 days,
  • they used airtime worth at least 10,000/- every month over the past 30 days and
  • their number has an airtime balance less than 239/- at the time of requesting Xtra Time credit.

UTL Topowa

This service allows UTL Prepaid Customers to Borrow Airtime when they run out and Pay back later. This service is open to all Uganda telecom prepaid customers for as long as they have been active on the network at least 30 days minimal and if they no outstanding debt. The customers also must have spent a minimum amount of airtime in a given period of time.

How to borrow Uganda Telecom (UTL) airtime: Dial *146# and follow the prompts (Alternatively they can dial *100# and select Topowa)

How Much you can borrow: Ugx 500, 1000, 1500 and 2000

Selling Point: 

  • The airtime can be used to make calls & send SMS to UTL and non-UTL numbers, surf the internet, flexi share with friends & family and they can buy any of the packages available.
  • Customers can borrow regardless of the amount of airtime they have on their line.
  • Customers can also borrow airtime even if they have a negative balance and may borrow airtime as many times as they wish, so long as s/he fulfils the requirements mentioned.

Conditions: 

This service is available to all UTL prepaid subscribers as long as they have

  • Active on the network at least 30 days minimal
  • Have no outstanding debt.
  • Must have used airtime worth at least 12,000/- over the past 30 days

Borrowing Airtime in Uganda Comparison Table

Image: Daily Monitor