How To Pay OTT Tax (Social Media Tax) on All Networks

This article has been updated due to changes in the Internet tax in Uganda. You can read about the new regulations in this article

Updated on 13th October 2023

WhatsApps groups are mute, Facebook timelines are next to empty, VPN downloads are on the rise. The word in town is OTT tax. From Social Media Tax alias OTT tax to Mobile money tax, a big number of internet users in Uganda which is an estimate of 10m people is on the search on how to pay social media tax.

Well, in this guide, I will share with you step by step on how to pay OTT Tax for all networks.

It really doesn’t differ that much from one network to another. Let’s say paying through MTN, Airtel or Africell. It’s just a change in the availed USSD codes from the said internet service providers.

[bctt tweet=”One thing to note is that all over the top services taxes are paid using mobile money and this means that you’re unable to use your available phone credit to pay for the said tax.” username=”gotechug”]

On the 28th of June 2018, telecom companies sent out notifications in a joint statement that their customers would be required to pay UGX 200 per day, UGX 1,400 for a week or UGX 6,000 for a month to access social media platforms or else they wouldn’t have access.

Social Media Tax Joint Statement
Social Media Tax Joint Statement

To Read: Guide: How The MTN MoMocard Works Online

At exactly midnight on the 29th June 2018, what seemed to be a joke was no more. WhatsApp groups and tweets froze and something seemed not to workout only to remember that, the said social media tax had gone into effect.

OTT tax affects social media platforms such as Facebook, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Instagram, Viber, Skype among others. See list below.

Some of the Blocked Social Apps affected by the OTT Tax. Courtesy photo
Some of the Blocked Social Apps affected by the OTT Tax. Courtesy photo

To Read: Ever wondered how to know if your WhatsApp is hacked and how to fix it? Read this guide too.

So, let’s dive into how to pay your OTT taxes so as to have access to blocked applications. It should also be noted that VPN users are also required to pay for the said tax according to a statement from MTN Uganda.

VPN’s are a common global method of accessing internet services while masking the nature of the internet service being used. It is because such VPN’s can then be used to access OTT services indirectly that government has included such sites as being subject to OTT TAX. Unfortunately, the creation of a VPN service is relatively easy and takes place outside of Ugandan borders.       For this reason, the operators will block access to VPN ’s that the authorities declare to be used  For  OTT services unless the  consumer has paid their   OTT TAX.

To Read: Top 7 Advantages of Social Media You Can’t Ignore!

How to Buy OTT Tax

If you wish not to read, here is a video to take you through


Step one: How to pay Ott Tax on MTN & Airtel

On your smartphone, dial *165*2*8# *165*2*6# if you’re on MTN Uganda, and for  Airtel, dial *185*2*5# and Africel, dial *144*2*5#

Paying Social Media Tax Fee (OTT) Step 1
Paying Social Media Tax Fee (OTT) Step 1

Step Two:

Kindly select an option that best suits you as seen in the image below.

Paying Social Media Tax Fee (OTT) Step 2

Step Three:

Select the package you wish to pay for. Ie, daily, weekly or monthly. Kindly note that you’re unable to subscribe for a yearly package as it’s not available as of writing.

Paying Social Media Tax Fee (OTT) Step 3

Step Four:

Kindly confirm your transaction. If you wish to return / back, press zero (0).

Paying Social Media Tax Fee (OTT) Step 4

Step Five:

You’re through. By the time you see this confirmation, you’re now able to use your blocked social media apps. Just turn on your mobile data and enjoy.

Paying Social Media Tax Fee (OTT) Step 5


Unlike other Internet service providers like Tangerine whose major customer base are data and internet users, they opted to add a top up on the monthly data plans to reflect the tax charges. In this case, a Tangerine customer will have to pay plus UGX 6000 for the monthly data charges.

Please disregard the UGX 10000 increment on OTT tax payment by Tangerine customers as it was sent in error. Said Tangerine in a statement.

To Read: How To Use WhatsApp For Digital Content Marketing

Tangerine on Social Media Tax Fee (OTT)
Tangerine on Social Media Tax Fee (OTT)

Also Read: Elementor Landing Page – A Step by Step Guide


UPDATE: 03- July 2018

Smile Communications gives a response to the said Social Media Tax. We will pay on behalf of our customers. Said a statement.

“We have got you covered!! Following the introduction of OTT tax, commonly referred to as “Social Media Tax” that was effected 1st July 2018 by Uganda Revenue Authority (URA), we are pleased to inform you that as a valued customer of Smile, we will pay this new tax on your behalf. Just continue to purchase and use Smile Bundles like you used to in the past. There is NO need for additional subscription steps to access and enjoy Social Media services from Smile!!”

I hope this guide helped you out.

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Hamza comes from a design background with over 10years of experience in Web and Media design. He enjoys making web design videos on his YouTube channel GoTechUG. He also writes web design articles on this website. In his free time, Hamza loves riding a bicycle, swimming or going hiking.

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