The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has circulated a new directive prohibiting the sale of airtime scratch cards. This applies to hawkers/street vendors, retailers, distributors and the general public. UCC further advises that unsold/unused airtime scratch cards and stock be returned to the distributors for a refund.
UCC has had a busy couple of months, passing a number of directives to Telecom companies. These include the temporary halt on the sale of SIM cards and lowering charges on SMS and voice calls. Let’s not forget the announcement that any fake phones with unverifiable IMEI codes will be switched off as well. Let’s no telling what other directives UCC has in store for us, and their effect on the economy.
Some of these measures came into effect following a spate of crime countrywide. Criminals took advantage of loopholes in the SIM card registration process and an influx of untraceable fake phones on the market which impeded the efforts by Police to do their job. A few months back, a few airtime vendors hiked the prices of airtime scratch cards despite objections by telecom companies.
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Telecoms in Uganda halt sale of SIM cards with Immediate effect
In a meeting held on 19th March, UCC requested all telecom companies in Uganda to submit details of airtime scratch cards in stock and the number en-route to Uganda. The regulator also requested for an estimate of the time until all stock is depleted before coming to the current date. In the meantime, the onus is on the Telecom companies to sensitise their subscribers as to the alternative ways to load airtime once this directive comes into effect.
Read more: 7 mobile apps that let you pay bills in Uganda
Accordingly, beginning 30th June 2018, any person engaged in the sale and distribution of airtime scratch cards will be liable to prosecution by the authorities. Not to worry, there are very many other ways to load Airtime onto your phone, as we are going to see:
How to load airtime without scratch cards
- USSD shortcodes: MTN Mobile Money (*165#)/Airtel Money (*185#)/Africell Money (*144#), etc.
- Easy Load by MTN Agent outlets countrywide.
- PayWay (All mobile networks)