How to Buy Airtime and Internet From MTN to Any Teleco Network in Uganda

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The sad truth with technology in the 21st century is lots of cool tech and gadgets are released out frequently that it becomes almost impossible to keep up with the latest trends. In late 2019 when MTN Uganda partnered with Africell to help Africell customers top-up airtime and data bundles from the USSD shortcode *252#, the news was quickly forgotten.

MTN Uganda *252# Shortcut

I found myself using the service a lot lately and surprisingly whenever I tell my colleagues there’s a super easy way to buy airtime and internet for any telecom network from mobile money, they act like I just discovered the 8th wonder of the world.

So in the spirit of Robin Hood (rob from the knowledge-rich), we’ll be revisiting how you can buy airtime and internet bundles from mobile money to any telco line (network) in Uganda.

How to pay for Roke, Lycamobile, Africell, and Smile Internet Bundles from MTN Mobile Money

Paying for the internet in 2020 isn’t a hard job. We have third-party options from Payway POS to gazillion fintech app solutions all fighting for a place in your phone.

The problems with these solutions are some require you to have data to use them and others operate in your typical brick-and-mortar settings (POS). This resulted in the resurgence in demand of the good old-fashioned USSD shortcodes.

Here are the steps to use the *252# shortcode on MTN to pay for internet bundles;

Step 1:  Dail *252# on your phone.

Step 2: Choose option 6 — i.e. “Airtime and Bundles.”

Step 3: Select option 2 — i.e. “Internet Bundles.”

Step 4: Select the network you want to buy data bundles for from the available list

Step 5: Pick the data plan you want to pay from the list and choose the option to proceed.

Step 6: Enter your mobile money pin to confirm the transaction and you’re good to go.

A side note to remember is there are additional charges for this service which is clearly shown to you before you checkout. Also, the purchase steps always change after choosing the telecom network you want. Other ISPs demands you enter your SIM card details before proceeding while others are straightforward for you to select the data plans.

Highlighted below are the extra charges for the purchase of Lycamobile internet bundles which are pretty low for convenience and reliability.

Data PlanBundlesPrice Extra Charge
UG Super20GB10,000UGX550
UG Mega50GB25650
UG Giga100GB45750

How to buy airtime for Airtel, UTL, SMILE and Lycamobile from MTN Mobile Money 

Although there are only a handful of options to choose from, buying airtime using the shortcode *252# is pretty much straightforward. Follow the steps below to get it done.

Step 1: Dail *252#.

Step 2: Choose option 6 — i.e. “Airtime and Bundles.”

Step 3: Select option 1 — i.e. “ Buy Airtime.”

Step 4: Select the network you want to buy airtime for.

Step 5: Enter the amount of airtime you want to buy.

Step 6: Enter your mobile money PIN to finish the transaction.

Here are the extra charges range when buying airtime from 500UGX to 100,000UGX.

Airtime PriceAdditional Charge(UGX)
Extra Charges for buying Airtime from MTN to other teleco networks


So, what else can you do with the USSD short code *252#?

MTN Uganda *252# Shortcut Menu

The shortcode is owned by MTN Uganda and houses a lot of helpful services from payments of school fees, utilities, contribution to churches, MTickets (Blanket and Wines) and counselling among other services.

The service also runs a shared loyalty program where you earn points from the number of times you use the service. Points can in turn be redeemed and converted to airtime.

In retrospect, the *252# shortcode is really helpful when you are stuck and want to buy airtime or data for someone. Use the comment section to tell us the medium you use to buy airtime/data for your close friends and relatives. Or how you used or intend to use this shortcode.


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