Top 7 Most Important USSD Shortcodes in Uganda

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USSD shortcodes are vintage but very vital not only in Uganda but in the world all over. Tasks like airtime balance inquiry and money transfer have been made easy by the availability of these USSD shortcodes. Before we go any further, you might be asking, ‘What are USSD Codes?’

Short for Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD is a protocol used by cellphones to communicate with their service provider’s computers via text messages. These are commonly used to check mobile airtime and data balance inquiries or to receive one-time passwords or PIN codes, among many applications. So what are the most important USSD shortcodes in Uganda?

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1. Airtime Balance Inquiry

Before making a call or texting, one thing to do is check for your airtime balance to ensure your call will not be cut short in the middle of your discussion. Thankfully, all the Telecom service providers use the same USSD code for airtime balance inquiry. Dial *131# to find out your airtime balance.

2. Data Balance Inquiry and Recharge

Want to access the internet? You will have to subscribe to a data bundle to do so, dial;

  1. *175# for Airtel;
  2. *150# for MTN;
  3. *133# for Africell.

Select the options according to the amount of data you would like to buy. Also, there are options that allow you to check for your existing data balance.


Related Article: 5 little known USSD codes that you really need


3. Mobile Money

One of Africa’s biggest exports is Mobile Money. You literally can have a bank at your fingertips and send money to anyone at any time, subscribe to data or voice bundles, and pay bills among others. To access mobile money, dial;

  1. *185# for Airtel;
  2. *165# for MTN;
  3. *144# for Africell.
USSD Shortcodes can work on both smartphones and feature phones
USSD Shortcodes work on both smartphones and feature phones

4. Self-Help Menu

This menu is mainly helpful when you can’t seem to remember other USSD codes. It is basically the USSD menu for all products. Dial *100# on any network and you will access this menu.

5. Unsubscribe From Promotional Messages

You know those unsolicited adverts in the form of messages that keep flooding your inbox? To stop them, dial *196*5# on any network.

6. Know Your Mobile Number 

Whereas its a bit odd that one can forget their phone number, there are circumstances where your own number might skip your head for a minute. Dial *120# to find out your mobile number.

7. SIM Registration Status

In Uganda, it is required by law that you register your SIM card with your National ID. Failure to do so will have your number deactivated and handed to a new customer. To be sure your number is registered in the right way and avoid any disconnections in the future, dial *197# on all networks. If you have any issues with your registration, contact your service provider’s customer care to have it rectified.

To access a USSD service, open up your mobile phone and dial any of the codes starting with an asterisk (*) the code and then finally #. Which codes do you mostly use on your phone? Share with us in the comments section below.