Photo credit: New Vision

Following their ban on the sale of SIM Cards recently, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has issued yet a new directive, this time to stop the sale of airtime scratch cards, by June 30th, in favor of electronic points of sales and distribution.

Little is known why UCC has come up with this directive, but speculation is going that it comes after airtime vendors illegally increased retail prices for airtime scratch cards last year in November. The Commission, then, did not take any actions against this move by the vendors. Telecom Operators, however, reacted promptly to this and downplayed any involvement in it, and encouraged their subscribers to opt for airtime recharge methods through Mobile money or via the Agent’s Easy Load option.

During a meeting held on March 19th, UCC directed all telecom companies in Uganda to submit details of airtime scratch cards in stock.

“It was agreed further that each telecommunications operator would by Wednesday 21 March 2018 submit to the commission the details of the current stock of scratch cards including but not limited to the stock of scratch cards already purchased en-route to Uganda,” UCC Executive Director Godfrey Mutabazi said in an official release.

1. Street vending of airtime scratch cards is completely banned, effective June 30th
Retailers have been given up to two months, until June 30th. After which any person found selling or distributing airtime scratch cards will be doing so unlawfully and will be a punishable offense by the authorities.

2. Retailers are advised to return airtime scratch cards and get compensated
Any person involved in street vending/hawking of scratch cards are advised to stop and return unused, unsold, stock to their distributor or stockist for a refund.

3. Subscribers encouraged to take up electronic means to recharge their airtime
UCC encouraged customers to purchase airtime using electronic means and or via Mobile Money.

Subsequently, Telecom Operators have started to issue notices to their subscribers to let them know of this directive and offer available electronic means to recharge.

Telecom providers have shortcode options for their respective subscribers to use in order to purchase airtime via Mobile Money. Other available options include PayWay, Mula App, and Pebuu.