It’s 2020. There are more mobile Apps, streaming services, social networks and yes Cat Memes. The internet is bigger than ever and probably should your internet package.
The last time we did a comparison of unlimited internet in Uganda, it was four years ago. Vodafone which soon closed shop had the best package offering 2Mbps unlimited internet for UGX 149,900. Four years ago, 2Mbps was descent speed for internet but it probably would be considered quite slow today.
Fast forward to today, the MB economy is still alive and well. Mobile telecos are still offering bundled internet in form of packetized MBs and GBs that expire when you have used up your bundle or when expiry date reaches. The MB economy has democratized internet to almost every mobile user throughout the country. Everyone can have a piece of the cake — it’s just your pocket which determines how much you can bite.
But now, some people are desperately looking past the MB economy. You can’t go so far with MBs when you want to use applications like Netflix, Youtube, Tidal, Online shopping, Video conferencing, remote work etc. TRUE Unlimited Internet is needed. That’s what we are here to figure out, but first, lets set the stage.
The different types of Internet Providers
In order NOT to compare Apples and Oranges, I’ll separate Internet Service Providers(ISP) into two broad categories; Mobile ISPs and Fixed-line Wired/Wireless ISPs.
Now Mobile ISPs are already familiar to most people. These are providers that use mobile data connectivity to supply internet. They use 3G/4G LTE as data pipes to mostly connect your Smartphone to the internet. However, they also have 3/4G LTE MiFis and Routers which take Simcards to hook you up to the net. As such they usually have nationwide coverage and their internet packages are normally “bundled”. The biggest dogs are MTN, Smile and Airtel Uganda.
Fixed-line Wired/Wireless ISPs are slightly unfamiliar to most people perhaps because they won’t require a Simcard or they have limited coverage? They use both Wired and Wireless means of connectivity for last-mile connectivity. Fiber is the most popular wired means and simultaneously the fastest means of delivering internet. Essentially the provider will pull Fiber cable from one of their main pipes to your home. Wireless options include Microwave. Here, an Antenna will be installed on your rooftop which is then connected to a WiFi router in your home akin to DStv Dish/Decode combo installations. No Simcards are needed. The big dogs here are Zuku, Roke telkom and Liquid Telcom.
Now with the Apples and Oranges clearly differentiated, lets dive in to what Fixed-line ISPs have in store for you.
Roke Telkom is one of the few home-grown telecom companies on this list. Their two products, Roke On the Go and Roke At Home cater to different demographics. The innovative Roke On the Go product offers affordable WiFi in public spaces such as malls, hostels, restaurants, petrol stations, e.t.c.whereas Roke At Home provides a more permanent internet solution for places of residence. Roke At Home’s unique selling point and arguably their most attractive feature is the fact that they offer absolutely free internet from 7PM to 7AM, at weekends and public holidays. And to cap it off, Google Meet, Zoom and Outlook are zero-rated, at a time when online education and remote work have become the norm.
Installation and setup costs Ugx 300,000 and entitles you to a Cambium Networks 5Ghz 2×2 MIMO radio with integrated antenna and a TP-Link home router. The packages are competitively priced. The cheapest offering Roke Classic Plus goes for Ugx 112,000 for 60GB. Roke Unlimited Plus entitles you to 150GB at Ugx 280,000 while Roke’s premium offering, Roke Mega Plus offers 450GB at Ugx 728,000. Download speeds are modest and will hover at around 10Mbps. In order to remain competitive, Roke Telkom offers a standard bandwidth for light to medium internet users.
Roke Telkom has a stellar customer service. Hiccups with their internet connection are usually escalated in record time. Customer care immediately knows your location and your name when you call on the number attached to your account.
Zuku combines internet, TV and phone services into what it calls “Tripleplay” package. So when you pay for internet, you also get digital TV upto 56 channels composed of mostly local stations. Since most homes already subscribe to other Pay TV providers such as DStv, GoTV or Startimes with much better channel selection, I really don’t see the value of combining internet with TV.
Zuku’s internet plans are extremely competitive. Starting from as low as Ugx 169,000 for 10Mbps for true unlimited home fiber internet, it’s easy to see why they are a great option if you live within their coverage area. Here’s a complete list of Zuku’s home internet plans;
- Tripleplay 10Mbps for Ugx 169,000.
- Tripleplay 20Mbps for Ugx 219,000.
- Tripleplay 40Mbps for Ugx 339,000.
- Tripleplay 100Mbps for Ugx 559,000.
And to make things even sweeter, it seems Zuku is offering free installation and equipment. That’s too good to be true, so dig into the fine print of the terms and conditions before you sign up.
The real bummer to Zuku’s fiber home internet is the coverage area. They are available in very limited areas mostly in premium estates and upscale locations around kampala. Zuku Fiber is available in these areas Naguru, Mawanda road, kisementi, Kololo, Bukoto, Ntinda, Bugolobi, Mbuya, Mutungo, Luzira, Butabika(Royal Palms), parts of Muyenga, Bukasa, Kyambogo, Kiwatule, Naalya, Najjera 1.
Liquid telecom has some great offers for home internet. Instead of using a 4G LTE network that requires a Simcard inserted on your phone, MiFi or 4G router, Liquid uses Microwave Link to get internet to your home. Essentially, they mount a Microwave radio antenna similar to a dish on your rooftop with direct “Line of sight” to the nearest mast. This internet dish then connects to a WiFi router, typically a TP-Link in your house that then supplies internet to all your devices. Liquid charges a one-time fee of Ugx 300,000 for this equipment and installation which is fair enough.
When you look at their packages, Liquid telecom seems a very attractive option. They start with 20Mbps Fibroniks for Ugx 189,500, Gold 40Mbps at Ugx 301,500 and Platinum at 100Mbps for Ugx 525,500. These prices are inclusive of the recently introduced 12% internet tax.
But Liquid’s sweet deals come with terrible, absolutely awful, unresponsive, “I don’t care” customer care. No one will pick your calls or respond to your tweets or your emails. In our review of Liquid’s internet, the company scored a one star rating out of five in this department. It’s not just us, Liquid telecom has rave reviews on Guru8, another Tech website.
However, if you can get past their customer care and if you are within good coverage of their network, Liquid telecom is really a good internet option. I know that because I have used them as my primary internet provider of choice since the 2020 lockdown. You get true unlimited no-strings attached(read: Fair Usage Policy) to the internet at a very competitive price point.
|Uganda Top Unlimited Home Internet Packages 2020
|Roke Unlimited Plus
1Mbps after 150GB
|Tripple Play Basic
|MTN Home Fiber
MTN Home Fiber
Wakanet Pro (MTN Home Fiber) is a fixed home internet solution delivered using optic fibre cable directly to your home. It provides a reliable high-speed internet connection with no cap on data volume to meet your home entertainment, education, surveillance and home office needs. You can read more about Wakanet Pro here.
MTN home fiber internet plans start from Ugx 169,000 at 20Mbps for the standard package and Ugx 269,000 at 40Mbps for the premium package.
The installation fee for Wakanet Pro(MTN Home Fiber) is UGX100,000 and payments are made using MTN mobile money.
From their coverage areas, MTN seems to be building the largest home internet fiber network in the country. They are available in some parts of Kampala, Mukono, Jinja, Mbale, Arua and Lira. You can try out MTN home fiber if you live in Kololo, Naguru, Ntinda, Entebbe, Nakasero Hill, Muyenga, Namuwongo, Makerere, Bugolobi, Luzira, Ggaba, Makindye, Muyenga, Namugongo, Ntinda-Bukoto, Ntinda(Kyambogo-Ministers Village), Ntinda(Kiwatule-Naalya), Kira, Kisaasi, Bweyogerere, Najjanankumbi, Entebbe, Mukono, Jinja, Mbale, Arua and Lira.
Now Mobile ISPs also have “unlimited” internet but it has lots of caveats or FUP polices that are sometimes too complicated for ordinary users or even annoying to follow. We shall probably cover their packages in a separate post. However, their internet is usually a lot faster thanks to 4G LTE and most importantly they have much wider — usually countrywide — coverage which is great for consumers outside Kampala.
So there you have it; Top Truely Unlimited Home internet packages you can subscribe right now in 2020. If you know of any providers we could have missed, please let us know in the comments below.
Image: Liquid Telcom Microwave Antenna home unlimited internet connection