At long last I have my personal MTN sim working for both voice and data on my android phone, *and* I can connect the my computer to the Internet using mtn’s gprs connection using JuneFabric’s PdaNet software.
Sigh, well PdaNet only works for windows, not my MacBook Pro, but since my MBP is currently out of commission with an inexplicably inoperable motherboard (the graphics card seems to have fried itself, so it’s being serviced – side note: by some miracle there’s a shop that does warranty repairs on apple computers in Kampala, but it takes a while bc they have to order parts from Cupertino), not working on a MBP is a moot point at the moment. And I can always switch back to my Palm phones if I want to tether the Mac via bluetooth.
Anyways the point being that I spent hours trying to get this sim card enabled for the 90k/month data plan last March, and they kept saying a new plan was in the works – and apparently now it is available. Whee!
I also noticed that while I’ve been having trouble connecting to the internet on pay as you go internet using this sim card for a while, recently it started connecting using the modem APN instead of the standard APN, so I am using MTNDATA as my apn setting instead of yellopix.mtn.co.ug.
Zain is also pretty easy to get configured for internet – you can either go into a shop in Kampala or just top up with 90k shillings and do it yourself. Set the apn to web.ug.zain.com and connect. From there you will need to go to a browser and try to open a website, which will redirect you to a zain site, where you will be able to choose from three plans: Zain Access (the pay per kb plan), Zain 1GB (the 90k plan), and Zain Unlimited, which doesn’t charge additional fees for usage over 1GB in a given month. If you choose Zain Access you will be stuck with it – and have to talk to customer service for several hours in order to get switched back to Zain 1GB. Once you click one of the links, it will show you the prices for the plan, then you can confirm, and you’ll be in.
With Zain I haven’t in general had technology issues with any of my phones, although the sim no longer works with my old falcom modems. They will sell you a usb modem (locked) made by huawei for 360,000 ugx (180 USD) which works reliably at fairly decent speeds. In the past I have been able to roam in dr congo on my 1GB plan, but recently was told that we can only roam on Zain Access, because they haven’t worked out payment policy.
So this is what works. It’s not the most stable connection in the world, tethering the android. Nor the speediest. But it hits a price point and I can check email and download files.