Finally here’s true Unlimited Internet from Smile Uganda, but we’re skeptical

Try to wrap your mind around this: Truly unlimited Internet in Uganda at blistering fast speeds of 6Mbps at a paltry fixed price of UGX 330,000 a month. In addition, the internet bundle has no data caps at all! This means the internet speeds won’t drastically reduce to a crawl after you pass a certain threshold. This is definitely a first in Uganda. Smile Communications has introduced this new offering they call Smile Premium Bundle and it has left us shell-shocked.

Previously unlimited internet bundles (Smile’s included) were not truly unlimited as advertised. What telcos normally do is they cap the unlimited internet bundles to a certain threshold. Let’s say 35 GB for Vodafone’s unlimited bundle, after which the download speeds are throttled to speeds of 128kbs from 2Mbps. Frankly, at this speed you might as well give up on using the internet altogether because it’s annoyingly slow.

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Smile Uganda Unlimited Bundles

Smile Unlimited BundlesPriceData capSpeeds Throttled speeds
Daily Smile Unlimited UGX 12,0001.5GB 2Mbps256Kbps
Weekly Smile Unlimited UGX 75,0005GB2Mbps 256Kbps
Monthly Smile UnlimitedUGX 179,00025GB 2Mbps 512Kbps
Smile Premium Bundle
UGX 330,000Unlimited 6Mbps 6Mbps

Solely basing on how telcos work in Uganda, we are somewhat skeptical of the Smile Premium Bundle. Its very likely they will change their offering along the way. I mean who doesn’t? Vodafone came on the scene offering great rates for their unlimited internet bundles. But along the way, the shine of the newcomer wore off and they slipped back to the usual rates offered by other service providers.

Nonetheless, we are hoping -fingers crossed- that Smile Communications makes this a permanent internet bundle offering. Doing so will start an unlimited internet price war in Uganda and it’s well understood that when giant’s fight, subscriber’s jubilate. On this point, Uganda’s two telecom giants, MTN and Airtel are conspicuously not offering unlimited data bundles for some reason. Will Smile’s Premium bundle force them to finally act? Let’s wait and see.

Smile has added new locations receiving superfast 4G LTE internet, now including: Kampala, Entebbe, Wakiso, Mukono, Mbarara, Masaka, Masindi, Fort Portal, Kabale, Gulu, Lira, Soroti, Mbale, Jinja and Tororo.



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4 thoughts on “Finally here’s true Unlimited Internet from Smile Uganda, but we’re skeptical

  1. I was one of the first ever Smile users. Their speed was SUPER FAST and they gave me over 3m in credit to test their link as well as be a guinea-pig for their customer service team. Except for their pricing which mirrored that of Orange at the time and their coverage, I thought they were fabulous. They even “invented” proper bandwidth and credit management by giving online access and tracking.

    The sad truth is the entire world is moving to capped data. I would love to hear what the man on the street is paying for his internet. I have seen the hustle in Smile sales. It is brutal and takes a skilled, committed and aggressive sales person to work there.

    I think this is a bold move by them. However if there is no price war, four to eight months of this might kill them. That price of 330k a month is 30k more than the 75k a week for capped. Thus there are no savings.

    The reason for capped data is that telcos want you to keep paying while at the same time would like to kick you off at some point (so that you can pay again). The same thing that sells drugs is what capped is looking for.

    If at 330k a month these guys are cheaper than Roke, someone has some explaining to do. That said, perhaps they are now with google 🙂 Perhaps they now have tonnes of cheap bandwidth and are suddenly willing to share it?

    I will be watching this from my unholy alliance of links (MTN+OneSolutions). While I still pay the Africell link from time to time (Orange nostalgia), I still can’t get round to paying for my Vodafone (despite writing this while wearing their PERFECTLY SIZED tee-shirt).

    • @disqus_pz4GCKymWm:disqus it actually makes sense for Smile to offer this kind of true unlimited data plan. They aren’t the first. MTN/UTL/Roketelecom do it as well but with fixed-line internet which limits the scope of their customers to mainly corperate offices. The difference here is Smile is going the mobile route which means a lot of sense because that’s the primary means of connectivity for the mass market in Africa.

      Smile is fully committed to data and with this move, they won’t regret it. They have lots of redundant data because of relatively small customer base but large bandwidth pipe. So why “waste” away your bandwidth when you can lure more customers in with what they really want.

      • Heheheheheheh Smile buys bandwidth from Roke. I have long been CONFOUNDED that they deliver a better service than their source!!

        That is why Roke will have to explain things to me if one of their customers can resell their service CHEAPER than they do!!

  2. If data transmission is carried out over UMTS or LTE network technology with Uganda’s current infrastructure it is lightyears away from Unlimitted, affordable wireless internet. Because the packages are too expensive for the average Ugandan, the unlimitted survives due to a low subscriber base. Capped internet has never been more annoying, but if you dont have a fortune to spend on internet (which remember won’t easily generate returns on e-commerce) you are limitted to that 5GB or 10GB. Good thing is that it can check email and gather enough information for research.

    What you want is to utilize Googles ProjectLink Broadband connection, if you want to access superfast internet. Broadband is the way to go, but make sure your provider does this through an undersea cable and not on overground satellite. Satellites tend to be slower and are easily obstructed.
    If you want unhinged internet, Smile would be the best followed by Africell, previously orange Uganda. Vodafone caps the speed to an incredibly low speed, even a GPRS device is faster so no point wasting your time and life on capped speeds. The term ‘unlimitted’ previously was a marketing term for ‘continuous slow connection’ Lets hope smile telecome is a new frontier here.

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