Airtel Uganda Launches Uganda’s First e-SIM Cards

By Mark Kawalya

Airtel Uganda is the first telecom in Uganda to introduce eSIM card technology, which allows users to access and use the Airtel network without using a physical SIM card. However, the service is limited to some devices that have a provision for eSIM compatibility. With such a device, one can, for example, be an MTN subscriber and have the option of signing up for an Airtel virtual SIM. This will make it possible for users to access more than one network on their phones without having to use two physical SIM cards.

Kenya’s Safaricom and Airtel Kenya, along with Airtel Tanzania, are some of the carriers in the East Africa region that support eSIM technology. The introduction of eSIM service in Uganda follows an announcement a few months ago by Airtel Uganda’s MD that the firm was working on rolling out this type of technology after satisfying the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) requirements. This has come to fruition after Airtel met all the obligations set forth by the UCC.

How to Apply for an e-SIM

The e-SIM is compatible with 2G, 3G, and 4G-LTE technology, and customers will have the option of switching their current physical SIM cards to the e-SIM architecture by dialing *#06# using a compatible device. A QR code will be generated, and a submission of a valid national ID will be made. The entire run-through of the SIM swap process will be done by Airtel service personnel.

An e-SIM has enhanced security features compared to a physical SIM because it cannot be retrieved from a phone if it is stolen. The technology also eliminates the need to store and carry different physical SIMs, which often face the risk of getting lost or damaged.

Worldwide, more than 400 carriers are using eSIM technology, with many of them offering prepaid SIM-less data plans that are suited for long term use and offer both unlimited and limited data plans.

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