Name it, chances are that I have used it before. From the early days of internet access in Nigeria in the late 1990s when ISPs like hyperia and linkserve held sway with their dial up internet, to more recent times with ISPs like IPNX, Zoom, Onet and the GSM networks like MTN, Glo, Etisalat calling the shots. I have used them all!
Like many Nigerians, I keep hopping from one ISP to the other, searching for the elusive, or is it proverbial, “3G” or even “4G” speeds being hyped by these companies.
Recently, I was taking a walk through SPAR ‘Park and Shop’ Mall in Lekki, Lagos Island when I came across a stand showcasing yet another Nigerian ISP’s products, a company called COBRANET. Out of interest, more in the Sales Lady than anything else, I approached the stand. Though I had known Cobranet for years, I have never subscribed to their services. Probably because I did not expect their services to be any better than the norm. I got talking with the lady and was pleasantly surprised when the sales lady mentioned that apart from the fact that the company has signal coverage over most parts of Lagos Mainland, their signals also cover most parts of Lagos Island, stretching along the length of the Lekki-Epe expressway, reaching as far as a suburb called Awoyaya. A feat for a non-GSM based ISP.
After testing out the demo they had on offer in the store and admittedly, still with a little skepticism, I subscribed to their Home Bronze Plan which set my wallet back by N13,000.00 (about $US 80), an amount that would have gone a long way in actualizing my plan of buying a BMX bike for my son for Christmas. Of this amount, half of it was the modem cost while the other half got me a 3.5GB data limit and 800kbps download speed Home Bronze Plan. The data limit seemed very small and, well, very limiting, but the sales lady quickly chipped in that downloads from 12am-6am eeryday do not count towards this data limit.
To better understand the tag line 800Kbps (Kilo Bits per Second), it simply means that you are expected to download files from the internet at a rate of 800kbps divided by 8 which equals 100 KBps (Kilo Bytes Per Seconds). Take note of the difference between Bits & Bytes. Meaning that on a good day, barring unseen interferences, you are expected to download, say, a 1Gigabyte file in less than 3 hours. i have gotten speeds higher that 100KBps on Cobranet Home Bronze Plan but on the average, you are guaranteed speeds of at least 70KBps. By Nigerian standards, this is fast. In fact, the last time i experienced speeds like this was in the United Kingdom.
To still appreciate my mumbo jumbo yarns better, i decided to compare this speed to the GSM internet speeds posted on MTN Nigeria website which gave the average browsing speed of their 3.5G (HSDPA) “high speed Internet” as 800Kbps (100KBps), same as Cobranet’s least browsing speed plan, the Home Bronze Plan. However, i could not help but wonder where MTN picked that figure from. Probably that speed is attainable ONLY in their CEO’s lodgings! God help you if you can get a fraction of that speed, even at their best signal locations.
Cobranet is very fast, and in reality, i can download a 1GB file in under 4 hours. Try that on any other network, a non starter on most. I do wholly recommend Cobranet’s Internet service to anyone, as of today. Yes today only, as i do not give any guarantee that their services would not tow the snail speed line by tomorrow!
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