Exhaust MTN 077, codes 078

By Dorothy Nakaweesi

MTN will stop transmitting coded numbers 077 and 078 after having exhausted the authorized limit.

MTN, which has been operating both codes for more than 20 years, starting with 077, before introducing 078, announced this weekend that it would be removing the codes available to prepaid customers.

Telecommunications operates other codes, including 031 and 039. This weekend, MTN reported that the Uganda Communications Commission had already granted a request for a new code that will be available to new prepaid customers.

Mr Somdev Sen, MTN’s marketing director, said codes 077 and 078 have already sold out and will no longer be issued.

“MTN has stopped selling the 077 and 078 ranges. These are no longer available,” he said, noting that this was a signal of the rapid expansion in the number of subscribers to telecommunications over the years.

MTN broke Celtel’s monopoly in 1998, presenting one of the toughest competitions in Ugandan telecommunications history, in which it quickly became the market leader with a range of services.

Celtel has since exited the market after selling its business to Zain, who then sold to Airtel.


In its 2020 annual financial results, MTN reported that its market share in Uganda had grown to 14.1 million subscribers, representing a percentage growth of 4.1%.

Uganda, according to data from the Bank of Uganda, which by virtually regulating mobile money operations obtains some details of the telecommunications sector, currently has around 31 million mobile phone subscribers shared between UTL, Africell, Airtel, MTN and others.

MTN has been the fastest growing, averaging 9% per year, driven by an extensive network of mobile money and internet connectivity.

At least 99 percent of mobile phone subscribers have a mobile money feature while at least 45 percent access the Internet through mobile phones.

The telecommunications sector continues to benefit from rapid growth in mobile phone penetration, which currently stands at over 60%, according to UCC.

Growth was also supported by new innovations in non-traditional products, including mobile money, data and internet connectivity.

Uganda currently has 30.7 mobile money subscribers. However, 10.9 million of them are inactive while around 15 million Ugandans access the internet on mobile devices, according to UCC data.

The exhaustion of coding illustrates the extent of the demands for services currently made by digital technology.

Other telecoms that operate more than one code include Airtel, which operates codes 075 and 070.
The telecom inherited the code 070 from Warid, after acquiring its operations in 2013.

Over the weekend, Sen said that while a limited number of retired codes will be available to subscribers through number recycling, Telecom had already secured a new code – 076 – which will be available to new subscribers. prepaid.

Phone number recycling reintroduces deactivated or disconnected lines into a pool of available numbers that can be assigned to a new customer.

A number is recycled if the former owner has not used it for any activity for more than six months and has not formally notified the telecom of its intention and interest in keeping it.

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