Internet modem buyer’s guide Uganda – Do you still need one?

4G LTE USB buy Modem Uganda
PC: Jumia
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If you want to access the internet in Uganda, then maybe you might want to give modems a try, or not?. Modems, just like MiFis, can enable you to access the internet from your sim-card.

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Internet modems, vary from MiFis in many ways. There are certain types of modems that we shall look at later in this blog.

In Uganda, Modems have come a long way. From the days when Airtel Uganda was on the 3G train, and when Africell was kicking it when it came to 4G fast modems. Currently, modems aren’t your household internet access devices as they were 5 years back. However, we know there is a unique group of people who are interested in buying a modem in Uganda.

What is a modem

In brief, a modem is a device that enables the transmission of data over a communication channel. A modem facilitates access to the internet, the connection of various computers, and enabling data transfer across them.

How a modem works

Depending on the type of modem (as you will see later in this blog), the functions and how modems work vary. In summary, the purpose of a modem is derived from its name, “modulator-demodulator”.

The sending modem modulates the data into a signal that is compatible with the phone line, and the receiving modem demodulates the signal back into digital data.

– source: how stuff works

Internet modems and their prices in Uganda

buy modem uganda - ugtechmag
PC: Pixabay

In Uganda today, Modems are not on high-demand as they were back then. This is mostly because MiFis were launched on the market, and they proved to have some better advantages than the modems.

ALSO READ: MiFis and their Prices in Uganda – Buyer’s Guide

Even so, there are other internet access options like routers and fiber internet, which serve many other advantages. Not to forget, smartphones, which can also create a WiFi hotspot.

However, here are the current modems available in Uganda, and the sources where you can get them.

Africell Uganda internet modems

buy modem uganda - africell 4G Modem

Africell Uganda is among the few telecom companies still selling modems in Uganda. As you will see below, Africell Uganda offers attractive deals for first-time buyers.

The Africell modems are priced under different categories, and they support various computer operating systems as you will see in the specifications list below.

HAUS 3G USB Modem (+ 3.5 GB)

The Haus 3GB USB modem comes with 3.5 GB for 1 month. It is a portable handy device, which can connect your laptop to the internet on the move, or anywhere you can be traveling to.

Africell modem specifications

  • Internet speeds up to 21Mbps
  • Supports Micro SD card slot
  • Supported operating systems: Windows XP/Vista/Win7/Win8/Win10, Linux

NOTE: The Haus 3G USB modem doesn’t support the macOS operating system.

Africell modem price in Uganda

  • The Africell Haus 3G USB Modem will cost you UGX 75,000/-. You can buy this Africell modem through Africell Uganda by contacting them or calling them directly via their customer care numbers.

Africell 4G LTE Modem

The Africell 4G LTE Modem is one-heck of a powerful internet access gadget. First of all, the word of 4G shouts speeed. The internet access speeds for this Africell Modem are way up there. In case you want dedicated internet access for your laptop, you might want to check this guy out. Here are the specifications of this modem.

This Modem comes with a whooping FREE 6 GB, valid for the first month of purchase.

Africell 4G LTE Modem Specifications

  • Internet speeds up to 150Mbps
  • Supports Micro SD card slot
  • Seamlessly connects to 4G LTE & 3G when in given coverage area
  • Supported operating systems: Windows XP/Vista/Win7/Win8/Win10, macOS, Linux

Africell 4G LTE Modem price in Uganda

  • The Africell 4G LTE Modem costs only UGX 99,000/-. You can buy it through Africell, via their official product purchase contacts.

Buy unlocked 4G internet modems on Jumia Uganda

buy internet modem Uganda -
PC: Jumia

Jumia Uganda is another online shop where you can buy internet modems in Uganda. There are different categories, including 3G/4G modems and unlocked 4G internet modems.

HSDPA 3G/4G Universal Modem

The HSDPA/4G universal modem supports all sim-cards, and it is portable and handy for your internet access needs.

HSDPA stands for High-Speed Downlink Packet Access

HSDPA 3G/4G modem specifications

  • 3G/4G Wireless USB Modem
  • Up to 7.2Mbps Download Speed
  • Immediate Internet Browsing
  • Plug & Play (No CD Driver required)
  • Works with any Data-Enabled SIM card: MTN, Airtel, Lycamobile, Africell
  • SMS Capability
  • Phonebook Functionality
  • Compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8

NOTE: The HSDPA 3G/4G modem doesn’t support the macOS operating system.

Price of the HSDPA 3G/4G Modem in Uganda

  • This internet modem only costs UGX 49,900/-. You can buy it here on Jumia.

HSDPA Unlocked Modem

This internet modem, which is a 3G modem, gives you access to the internet through any sim card you prefer.

HSDPA Unlocked Modem specifications

  • 3G HSPA USB Internet Modem
  • Type: Wireless
  • Host Interface: USB
  • High-Speed connection up to 7.2Mbps download Speed
  • 3G/4G Wireless USB Modem
  • Immediate Internet Browsing
  • Plug & Play (No CD Driver required)
  • Works with any Data-Enabled SIM card: MTN, Airtel, Lycamobile, Africell
  • SMS Capability
  • Phonebook Functionality
  • Compatible with Windows XP/Vista/7/8

HSDPA Unlocked Modem price in Uganda

  • This HSDPA unlocked modem only costs UGX 52,000/-. You can buy it here on Jumia

4G Wifi USB Modem

4G LTE USB Modem Uganda
PC: Jumia

The 4G Wifi USB modem is available on Jumia Global. The modem is portable and convenient for use. It is not only a modem but also offers Wi-Fi access.

4G Wifi USB modem specifications and features

  • 4G/3G modem + Wi-Fi wireless access.
  • Portable & Removeable.
  • Support for up to 10 users accessing simultaneously. 
  • It can offer up to 100 Mbps download speed and 50 Mbps upload speed for FDD-LTE connection.

Price of 4G WiFi USB modem Uganda

  • You can buy the 4G WiFi USB modem at UGX 110,824/-. It is available here on Jumia.

You can also buy modems in Uganda on Jiji (former OLX), or get them from Amazon, Alibaba or E-bay.

Here is a tutorial to help you set up your 4G Wifi USB Modem

Types of Modems

1. Mobile broadband modem

The mobile broadband modem, also known as wireless modem uses mobile telephone systems such as GPRS, HSPA and more, to enable user access to the internet. They are connected to the laptop via the USB port, which is why they are usually referred to as USB dongles.

This USB modem allows for inserting a sim-card, which enables access to internet systems when it is inserted in a laptop. This is the least famous kind of modem since it only allows internet access to the computer.

2. External Modem

Just like the work external implies, the external modem is a stand-alone internet access modem. It is used for internet access across multiple devices and can be attached to a router in order to enable multiple network nodes for various home or office devices.

The external modem can be (but not usually) connected to a computer via the USB, Ethernet or WiFi.

Some external modems come with inbuilt routers.

External modem - ugtechmag
PC: Google image

3. Cable modem

A cable modem enables broadband internet access in the form of cable internet. These are known for higher bandwidth internet speeds.

A cable modem works by connecting a coaxial cable and Ethernet from the modem to a computer or network router as you can see below.

cable modem - ugtechmag
PC: Michael Hansen

The Future (or not) of modems in Uganda

After asking around, some re-known telecom companies which were selling USB modems in Uganda under their brands stopped. Airtel, early this year stated that they no longer sell modems. They, however, recommended the customer to purchase the pocket MiFi router, for those who want to have your portable internet access device.

This says a lot about the morphing in technology and access to the internet in Uganda. Other types of modems like Cable modems are still served as additional internet access devices across networks in larger organizations.

So, modems are not only your usual USB dongle, they have other types which vary in functionality, as you have seen above.

When it comes to portability, USB modems are quite a light option to carry around. However, the limitations of using your USB modem to connect only to your laptop makes them less famous to use. This is why MiFis became the new normal, since you can access internet across all your gadgets at once.

MiFis too have their limitations, and a user can resort to other options like a Router, for over 30 users in a larger office workspace. Regardless, we are not here to talk about MiFis.

We hope that this guide on buying a modem in Uganda has been helpful. If you hook yourself up with a USB internet modem, or any of the other types of modems here in Uganda, do tell us how it works for you.