Safaricom has hooked up with MTN in Uganda (and Vodacom in Tanzania to combat Celtel’s East African no roaming package) to enable their customers to use their phones kama kawaida in East Africa as well and the service works great.
With MTN you even have get to enjoy their cool location prompt that tells you where you are with your phone e.g. Entebbe avenue, constitution street, Bumbu, Luwum street, Speke, etc. that scared safaricom customers one day in 2006.
Only problem with Safaricom is that their cards are very difficult to find and sold at very few locations. Only MTN stores sell them in Kampala and they are making a killing. A 500-shilling card goes for 16,300 shillings at about a 30% mark-up, while a 100-shilling card is priced over by about 36%. Still it’s worth the convenience of having affordable access to your contacts and messages.