“Free” WhatsApp Calls or Paka Paka? Vodafone and MTN Uganda Compared

Battle of telecoms: MTN Uganda vs. Vodafone Uganda. Battle of telecoms: MTN Uganda vs. Vodafone Uganda.
Battle of telecoms: MTN Uganda vs. Vodafone Uganda.

In a recent advertising campaign by Vodafone Uganda, the telecom provider seems to poke a stick into MTN Uganda’s side. The campaign which seems to go after MTN’s Paka Paka Voice package by insinuating that 30 minutes does not mean unlimited, while it is offering the real unlimited plan with free WhatsApp Calls.

Today, we want to take these two head-on in a comparison to determine which operator offers the best deals in the country. MTN Uganda, a standout giant has been in operation for almost 18 years now whereas Vodafone is still a new-comer in the industry.

Subscriber Base


Last year in September, Vodafone celebrated hitting 100,000 subscriber mark. This is in sharp contrast to MTN’s estimated 10 million subscribers (based on recovery projection following the 8.9million declaration in March 2016).

The number of subscribers is important in this argument because it crucially determines how affordable a user’s phone services are since operators generally offer better options for calling within the network.

As more and more mobile networks are building bases and putting up masts around the country, the scope and quality of mobile phone coverage in Uganda is improving, but which mobile network has the best coverage in the country.

In this world of constant connectivity the quality and speed of your network is critical to your ability to work and play on the hoof.

Here’s how the two compare:

MTN’s coverage snapshot Vodafone Uganda

MTN Uganda boosts of having the widest 4G LTE network in the country with over 75 LTE sites operational. This is in addition to the already existing coverage of 1,492 2G sites and 591 3G sites.

Kampala, Entebbe*

*Roams on UTL’s 2G network in areas with limited coverage. 

Voice and Data Deals

Both MTN and Vodafone offer their own set of unique perks and extras to attract users, ranging from generous data plans and promotions to offering free Voice minutes and SMS.

While it’s easy to compare prices, working out what extras each offers can be a dizzying experience. With that in mind, we’ve pulled out the selling points for each provider.

MTN Uganda Vodafone Uganda
1. Juzza Internet: This deal gives you 100% bonus on every data plan you purchase over 100MB, giving you extra data to enjoy extra things on the internet.

2. MTN Social Bundles – WTF: You get access to WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook only. You can choose from the daily or weekly bundle. The daily bundle at UGX 200 gives you either WhatsApp or Twitter or Facebook or all the 3 at UGX 500 for 24 hours. The weekly bundle gives you the same Social Media platforms for 7 days at UGX 2000.

3. MTN Go Bundles: Available in Daily, Weekly and Monthly options that come with free come with a free WTF (WhatsApp, Twitter and Facebook) bundle.

4. MTN Paka Paka: You can subscribe for a Daily, Weekly or Monthly voice plan starting at UGX 500 for 6 minutes of MTN to MTN calls and the famous 30 minutes for UGX 1000 valid for 24 hours, up to unlimited minutes of MTN to MTN calls at UGX 200,000 valid for 30 days.

5. MTN Zone Discounts

MTN Zone offers up to 100% discounts on calls at night. Basically, free calls.

1. 24 Hour mini: Surf, social network & basic emails and you can also be in position to share your data bundle across multiple devices, for UGX. 1,000 UGX.

2. Voice traffics: For UGX 3 per second, On-net and off-net rates. Rates apply all day where all calls are charged per second. Normal call charges are UGX3/sec

3. Midnight Bundle: You get 1GB of data and enjoy 4G connectivity from midnight till dawn for only 2500UGX. You also get to share your data between multiple devices. It’s the late night 4G connectivity experience you don’t wanna miss out.

WhatsApp Calls vs. “Paka Paka”

As a proposition, MTN Paka Paka allows users to call any MTN number for 30minutes throughout the day for just 30minutes, at UGX. 1,000/=. By comparison, Vodafone offers you an opportunity to call WhatsApp users for “free” as long as you purchase a 24-hour mini bundle at 1,000/=.

WhatsApp calls require both the caller and the recipient to have access to high-speed internet, have their data connection activated, and to guarantee quality, have a 4G-enabled device.

Because of the number of subscribers alone, MTN’s Paka Paka is not comparable to UGX. 1,000/= WhatsApp calls because of how many people you can possibly call.

MTN’s Data Tooti bundle, it needs to be noted, offers the most affordable all-round data option available on the market today.

Overall winner? You can make your own conclusions.

  1. Where are the “free whatsapp calls”? By the definition above, both networks offer free whatsapp calls. UNLESS, vodafone is offering FREE DATA specifically for whatsapp.
    What kind of reporting is this? I would love to know more about this so called, “free whatsapp calls” offered by Vodafone. I expected urls to prove or disprove this as well as some empirical testing of both services.
    I use MTN so I know it THOROUGHLY but I have only seen pictures about this so called free whatsapp calling. As a magazine we rely on to set the standard, we shouldn’t be wrong in expecting some indepth research and truth.

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