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2 years later: The impact of social media tax on Ugandans

2 years later: The impact of social media tax on Ugandans

As of 23rd March 2020, Uganda has only confirmed one case of the novel coronavirus. The President of Uganda recently issued directives which saw all schools in Uganda closed effective March 20, all gatherings banned, the border’s closed, international flights banned, citizens urged to stay home and many others in order to curb the spread of the virus.

But some of the measures for curbing this virus such as having people work remotely, students study at home and an increased reliance on digital transactions, are all hindered by Uganda’s social media and the mobile tax that were introduced in the country in July 2018.

In July 2019, one year after the tax was introduced, Uganda Revenue authority reportedly collected only UGX 49.5 billion out of the targeted UGX 284 billion from OTT and was short by up to 83 percent of the country’s estimates. Doris Akol, a commissioner from the Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) proposed plans to drop the current Over the Top Tax (OTT) stating that many Ugandans had resorted to using Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and wireless networks in their offices to avoid paying the tax.

In order to further understand how the social media tax continues to impact the social, economic and cultural aspects of the day-to-day lives of people living in Uganda, Pollicy conducted a study on the perceptions and behavior of Ugandans towards the taxation in November 2019. Today Pollicy is releasing the second OTT tax report titled “A Shot in the Dark: The Impact of the Social Media Tax in Uganda on Access, Usage, Income and Productivity” which follows the previous “Offline and Out of Pocket” report that looked at findings from the first 7 months after the tax was enacted.

Findings from the new report show that there has been a significant drop in social media usage and around 42 percent of the respondents felt that the tax is unfair. Around 36.4 percent of the respondents were accessing social media platforms more than 10 times a day prior to the tax, which number had dropped to 12.3 percent after the taxation at the time of the study.

When asked what they used social media for, 35 percent of the respondents said they used it for business activities and 62 percent of them reported reduced income following the implementation of the tax. In terms of affordability, 21% percent of the respondents made less than UGX 100,000 per month and the social media tax would take out more than 6 percent of their monthly incomes, for daily use of social media platforms. Around 76% percent of the respondents paid their social media taxes, while around 14% percent continued to use a VPN exclusively as a means of avoiding this tax.

This study was conducted on 1188 respondents living in areas of Gulu, Jinja, Mbarara, and Kampala, with about 58 percent of them identifying as male and the remaining 42 percent as female. A majority (78.5 percent) of the participants were under the age of 35.

Overall, findings from the report show that the OTT tax has continued to be unfair towards many groups and has reduced internet access, as well as productivity. The government should consider removing the taxes as they are largely regressive and the need to use these taxed services is much greater now with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic limiting travel and encouraging people to adopt new remote working strategies.

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Author: Editor2 years later: The impact of social media tax on Ugandans

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Coronavirus: Airtel Uganda scraps all Airtel Money fees for 30 days

Coronavirus: Airtel Uganda scraps all Airtel Money fees for 30 days

In the wake of the rapid spread of the coronavirus, various companies are crafting initiatives to ensure safety and health. Among these are the telecom companies whose services are an essential requirement in such a time of panic and need.

Following a directive by the president of Uganda to have people in quarantine for the next month, companies have reacted. Airtel Uganda, for instance, has scraped all mobile money and payment fees to ensure fluid cash flow during the period

In a statement issued by the company’s managing director, VG Somasekhar, the company has waived all fees on person to person transactions, as well as making Airtel Money Pay free for both customers and merchants.

The waiver is effective 20th March and will go on for the next 30 days.

Here is the statement:

In the face of unprecedented health risks, the safety and health of Ugandans is of utmost importance to us. Airtel Uganda has moved to support efforts to control spread of the Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic by promoting the conversion of physical cash to digital/ electronic transactions.

As part of the support, effective 20th March 2020;

  • All on-net P2P (Person-to-Person) transactions will be free for 3o days for any number of transactions and value.
  • Airtel Money Pay will be free for all customers and all merchants for 3o days

Airtel Uganda would like to thank the government of Uganda and other stakeholders for the continued proactive  measures aimed at ensuring the safety of all Ugandans during this period. We remain committed to working together with all key stakeholders in safeguarding the lives of Ugandans.

Read About: MTN Work from home bundles

 

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertCoronavirus: Airtel Uganda scraps all Airtel Money fees for 30 days

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How to activate the MTN Uganda ‘Work from home’ data bundle

How to activate the MTN Uganda ‘Work from home’ data bundle

The coronavirus outbreak has affected many of the working class, and has limited their productivity to only work from home. Besides the fear of getting infected while on their way to or even within the physical work places, the pandemic has cut off some of the key tools that assist in ensuring that work is done efficiently.

MTN Uganda has come up with a solution for this through their package in support for the fight against the outbreak. The company’s CEO, Wim Vanhelleputte, has today issued a statement about the package and how to benefit from it.

As you relax at home, you can get to enjoy an all day-time data bundle that will enable you stay on-line and work from home. The telco has done so by introducing the new work from home bundle. To activate it, dial 150*19# to get 1 GB at just UGX 2000 using MoMo. The bundle is limited and valid to time between 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.

Also, for the next 30-days, customers can send up to Ushs 30,000/- Mobile Money every day to other MTN MoMo customers free of charge. The offer is meant to reduce the risk of transmission by avoiding the physical exchange of currency notes.

MTN is also complementing government’s sensitization drive by availing UGX 500 million in cash and free media channel space (radio, TV, social media, SMS, call centre IVR platform) to promote the Ministry of Health’s sensitization messages.

Read About: Airtel Uganda scraps all Airtel Money fees for 30 days amidst coronavirus fears

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertHow to activate the MTN Uganda ‘Work from home’ data bundle

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Telecom

MTN Uganda to list shares on Uganda Securities Exchange

MTN Uganda to list shares on Uganda Securities Exchange

To be issued with a new licence, MTN Uganda will have to list at least 20 per cent of its shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange. This is in addition to paying $100 million in taxes. The two resolutions are the conclusion from the close to three-year tussle with the government, and finally securing the future of MTN operations in Uganda.

According to the East African, the telco has agreed to make the payment in two instalments of $50 million each, with the first payment expected this March and the second before the end of the financial year. This was reached at a meeting in the past week involving officials from the regulator Uganda Communications Commission, the Ministry of Finance and MTN executives.

MTN will also get a long term National Telecom Operator License for which it will be required to guarantee 100 per cent geographical coverage of the country with a minimum of 4mphs internet speeds in rural areas and 8Mphs in urban areas. This is the same case required of Airtel and UTL.

Other operators will have to settle for other licence categories under the new broadband policy.

The new UCC Licensing framework

The framework starts operations on June 30 and seeks to improve the quality of telecommunication services and boost investment in the sector for both existing and new telecoms operators. The licence categories are: National Telecom Operator License, National Public Service Provider, Regional Public Service Provider, National Public Infrastructure Provider and Regional Public Infrastructure Provider.

Fees for the National Telecom Operator licence is subject to negotiation along the annual minimum value, renewal or migration and fees computation.

The national public service provider licence holder will pay a minimum of $300,000 per annum and 1.23 per cent of prior total audited gross revenue for renewal or migration. The licence fee will be assessed on the “basis of total gross revenues of last year ended audited accounts, multiplied by licence tenure.”

The national public infrastructure provider licence holder will pay $300,000 in fees, liable to a licence value of 1.23 per cent of prior total audited gross revenue, offer 100 per cent geographical cover and 20 per cent local ownership on licensing or renewal for a period of 15 years.

The regional public service provider on the other hand will pay $50,000 in fees, liable to a licence value of 1.23 per cent of prior total audited gross revenue, offer coverage as per the licensed zone. The licence renewal will be based on the total gross revenue of last year ended audited accounts multiplied by licence tenure for a period of 15 years.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertMTN Uganda to list shares on Uganda Securities Exchange

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Airtel Uganda partners with itel Mobile to launch the itel A56

Airtel Uganda partners with itel Mobile to launch the itel A56

itel Mobile Uganda has launched the latest of its A-series smartphones – the itel A56. The phone has been announced in a partnership with Airtel Uganda in a move that has been described as one intended to “remove barriers and improve Smartphone penetration in Uganda.

Remmie Kisakye, the Head of Brand and Communications at Airtel stated that the brand is excited to take yet another bold move towards expanding digital inclusion.

We are not just launching a phone, the moment you get the new Itel A56, you will be able to access free 3GB valid for a month. On top of that, you will get 100% bonus on weekly and monthly data bundles that you load in the next 3 months. We are in Uganda not to operate profitably but we are here to ensure that every Ugandan is able to seamlessly communicate and access an affordable device with great deals

Henry Sajjabbi from Itel Mobile noted that the company came to Uganda to ease Smartphone acquisition in Uganda.

We fully understand what our customers go through but we also know that they need a phone they can rely on at an affordable cost. Today we’re launching more than just a phone. We are announcing a partnership with Airtel that will bring you deals on data and more from the smartphone network.

itel airtel partnership

itel A56 Specs, price and availability

The itel A56 comes with a 6″ IPS display, comes in two colour choices of Gradation Blue or Black, and has three AI-powered cameras. These include a 5MP selfie cam and a dual rear array of an 8MP and a VGA camera.

The phone is also powered by a 1.3Ghz quad-core chip coupled with 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It houses a non-removable 4000mAh battery, a headphone jack and a rear fingerprint sensor coupled with Face unlock for biometrics. It supports 3G and 2G networks.

The itel A56 goes for UGX 239,000 at itel branded shops countrywide and from Airtel shops and stores.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertAirtel Uganda partners with itel Mobile to launch the itel A56

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How to make payments on Africell Money using Beyonic

How to make payments on Africell Money using Beyonic

Early last year, we told you of the grooming partnership between digital payments platform, Beyonic, and Africell Uganda in a bid to allow companies that work with the former ability to accept funds from Africell money.

The two companies have partnered yet again, this time to introduce Beyonic as a reseller for Africell airtime, data bundles and mobile money payments. The announcement is now a stamp to prove that the telco’s mobile Money facilities are now fully available through the e-wallet platform.

According to the release on the partnership, it targets “enterprises seeking to boost their financials with the convenience of making multiple payments without the burden of managing hard cash.” The service will let customers make payments to multiple beneficiaries on the Africell money network, thus automating and simplifying financial transactions.

In addition to payments, companies can also buy Africell airtime in bulk through the Beyonic platform. This suits firms seeking to provide affordable airtime and data bundles to its employees.

How to make multiple payments on Africell money

  • Visit Beyonic and open an account on the platform
  • Load float/credit to transact
  • Load a file (csv or excel) of the beneficiaries you wish to make payment for with their corresponding mobile money numbers
  • Review the information you have uploaded
  • Approve the payment
  • Instant payments to your beneficiaries

Making multiple payments for app customers

  • Integrate your app with Beyonic’s API
  • When a customer wants to purchase anything on the app, the customer will just enter the amount they want to pay from their Africell Money wallet
  • Beyonic will send them an authorization request to enter their unique Africell Money pin code
  • On completion, Beyonic will instantly pull funds from the customer’s mobile wallet to the client’s Beyonic account

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertHow to make payments on Africell Money using Beyonic

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Airtel TV app review: Stream live television on the go!

Airtel TV app review: Stream live television on the go!

For those that saw the transition from on-the-desk land lines and street pay phones to the now widely spread network of mobile handsets, you can relate the journey that television has moved. From the analog big-bodied monitors that we used to view limited programming on, to the versatile pay TV channels, and now mobile TV – like the Airtel TV app. The journey has been remarkable.

Airtel Uganda recently unveiled its live TV and video-on-demand app, Airtel TV, for customers to watch local television on the go, as well as enjoy entertainment from the available list of shows and movies.

Getting started

You can download the Airtel TV App from Play store for Android or iOS for iPhone, enter your Airtel number through which you will receive an OTP SMS that you enter for confirmation.

Ensure that you have an active Airtel data bundle that will let you stream and watch all channels available on the App.

First Impressions

Having the Airtel TV app on your mobile does save you a lot of money you could have spent on renewing your decoder subscription – to watch local channels – and lets you watch it all from wherever you are; no restrictions.

The key content available on the app is Shows, movies, and TV.

The Good about Airtel TV:

With a good internet connection, you can have it all. The TV section has all the programming set in line, with the time of airing perfectly set. You can ably switch between the HD channels, your preferred language or category of choice.

There a good number of movies available, especially the local (Ugandan) productions. For those that love sitting back and watching every minute of the native action, it suits you well. The app is a good library from which to pick from.

If you want to continue watching as you browse for any other content, the app offers a picture-in-picture mode that can keep you going.

You can also add your favourite channels to a watch you keep tabs on when it is airing or even play on if already in the library.

The Bad about Airtel TV:

  • No screenshots. You can’t tell a friend about any interesting part you enjoyed in a show or on TV.
  • The Hollywood section “content is not available”.
  • No premium content – though one would not expect premium content on a free app.

Conclusion

You want TV everywhere you go? The Airtel TV app is just for you. Recharge your data bundle, download the app, and stream.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertAirtel TV app review: Stream live television on the go!

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Airtel Uganda unveils Live TV and Video on Demand (VOD) service app

Airtel Uganda unveils Live TV and Video on Demand (VOD) service app

Airtel Uganda has launched its Live TV and Video on Demand (VOD) service offering a premium mix of local and international content sourced from some of the largest studios across the globe.

Named Airtel TV, the service is yet another initiative in the telco’s digitization journey that has seen Airtel introduce 100% countrywide 3G and 4G technologies, launch the most affordable 4G smartphone on the market, affordable bundles and also introduce a broadband solution for homes, Small and Medium Enterprises that offers uninterrupted internet at affordable rates.

Available only to Airtel Uganda subscribers, the new innovation is designed to add value to the high quality streaming while promoting local content and talent in one convenient and easy to access package free of charge only requiring the users to have an active data bundle.

Speaking during the launch, the Airtel Uganda Managing Director Mr. V.G Somasekhar noted that Airtel TV is the embodiment of convenient and affordable entertainment.

The platform will deliver the very best of entertainment experience directly to all Airtel customers across the country. With our 4G network, subscribers to Airtel Tv will enjoy a seamless viewing experience without and interruptions. We are confident that the platform will delight, entertain and inspire Airtel customers as it offers first-class entertainment.”

Somasekhar also noted that the App is Airtel’s contribution to the development and promotion of local content in Uganda. The app will have different local news, music, Ugandan comedy and movies, in addition to streaming of sports, video-on-demand and many other offerings. The telco is encouraging Uganda’s local content producers to utilize this platform for revenue.

What’s on the Airtel TV app?

Users on Airtel TV can watch movies — Ugawood, Nollywood and Bollywood among others, Bloomberg, Trace (Urban, Africa, Mziki, Tropical, Gospel, and Sports Stars), Gametoon, Fashion Box, Nautical, God TV, Inspiration TV, and Al Jazeera, among others.

How to access the Airtel TV app in Uganda

Airtel Uganda subscribers can download the Airtel TV App from Play store for Android or iOS for iPhone, enter their Airtel number and the OTP SMS received. Subscribers will then be able to stream and watch all channels available on the App as long they have an active data bundle.

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertAirtel Uganda unveils Live TV and Video on Demand (VOD) service app

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How to pay URA taxes and KCCA fees using MTN MoMo

How to pay URA taxes and KCCA fees using MTN MoMo

It is an obligation for you to pay taxes to Uganda Revenue Authority (URA) and fees to the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) – if at all you have a running business or enterprise in the city. This post basically details to you how you can fulfil these obligations with much ease.

Pay URA taxes and fees using MTN Mobile Money

The authority has a partnership with MTN to facilitate payment of taxes using MTN Mobile Money. MTN customers can pay their URA fees and taxes using MTN Mobile Money by dialling *165#, selecting ‘Fees and Taxes’ and then choosing URA.

There are two payment options: with a Payment Reference Number (PRN) or without PRN.

Pay KCCA fees using MTN Mobile Money

Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) is responsible for the assessment, collection and accountability of revenues collected from revenue sources such as trading license, fees, ground rent, property tax, penalties/fines, rentals, hotel tax and other fees collected from various City operators.

MTN customers can pay their KCCA licenses, fees and taxes using MTN Mobile Money. All you have to do is dial *165#, select ‘Fees and Taxes’ and then choose KCCA.

Thereafter, you will have to enter the payment reference number, the amount and then confirm payment by entering your MTN Mobile Money PIN.

How much are you charged?

ura kcca mtn mobile money payments

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertHow to pay URA taxes and KCCA fees using MTN MoMo

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Which is the best mobile data deal in Uganda this 2020?

Which is the best mobile data deal in Uganda this 2020?

In the world today, data is the way to go and internet connectivity is the key driver. The world revolves around it and demand for fast and reliable internet is increasing by the day. Of course, as the demand gets higher, the next point of consideration becomes quality and affordability. The price of data bundles in prices has been, on average, fair to go with.

We have at least gotten used to getting an internet bundle for as low as UGX 250, but the questions that come up as you purchase are: how much data can you get out of it and how much use can you make of this? A number of innovations such as the MTN Freedom bundles, Airtel’s My Pakalast data bundles, as well as Africell’s revised data bundles are all in place to make a choice from.

During the launch of their New Chapter, Neeraj Gala – the Africell Chief Commercial Officer, affirmed the company’s commitment to offer customers consistent delivery of quality data at an affordable price.

“The New Chapter strategy is hinged on ensuring our customers enjoy the best value in terms of service and affordability. These bundles were designed with that mind-set and we remain committed on giving our customers the best value for their money.”

2020 Daily Data bundles prices in Uganda

mobile data daily bundles uganda

Something new on the scene is the unlimited daily bundle introduced by Africell. We have been used to daily packages that have a limit to them, with much of the usage being reserved to how much of the bundle you have left to use.

At UGX 20,000 you get to surf your self out the entire day. Africell has also boosted its bundles to be above the other competition offers when it comes to how much you get for the price paid.

2020 Weekly Data bundles prices in Uganda

weekly data bundles uganda

If your choice is the weekly data marathons, you have the best to choose from. MTN Uganda has the fewest options, with only three offers, while Airtel and Africell have a broader package with 6 and 5 offers respectively.

2020 Monthly Data bundles prices in Uganda

monthly mobile data prices uganda

Read About: Lycamobile launches in Uganda

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Author: Kikonyogo Douglas AlbertWhich is the best mobile data deal in Uganda this 2020?