If you are using Opera Mini or Opera Android browser and you can’t access any website at all, your data has not run out. The whole App is blocked for MTN Uganda subscribers.
I ran into this issue yesterday Morning. I could access other websites on Chrome and Firefox on Android, but to my dismay I couldn’t access the same websites from Opera Mini. And I am talking about services that are not part of the 50+ OTT services affected by the new Taxes.
MTN confirmed to me via a tweet that they are indeed blocking the whole Opera browser. However, no explanation was given as to why Uganda’s biggest mobile network was doing this while Airtel, Africell and other services providers were not censoring the browser.
Opera is among the blocked Apps. #mtnugcare>Merida
— MTN Uganda (@mtnug) July 8, 2018
We can only speculate that the operator blocked Opera browser because it could be used to access some of the taxable OTT services such as Facebook. This is because unlike other browsers, Opera uses its own proxy servers and caches to serve popular sites faster and more effectively.
The controversial social media and Mobile money tax is currently being challenged in Court. In the meantime users are resorted to using VPNs to bypass the blocked OTT services while Money Money transactions have seen a record drop of 60% country-wide in just 5 days of enacting the law according to the Daily Monitor.