Cobranet – Nigeria’s Fastest Internet Speed?

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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Wale Falade is Nigerian. A Business Systems Analyst, Technology Enthusiast and a Linux Server Administrator. He engages actively in improving online visibility of Nigerian brands. Follow him on twitter @diaryofageek
  • http://muyiscoi.com muyiscoi

    I’ve gotten much better speeds on Etisalat’s easyblaze 3G network. I guess location has a lot to play in the matter when it comes to these networks. The best speeds I got from Etisalat is about 5Mbps (640 Mega bytes per second). On the average, I get between 200 to 350KBps. I wrote a blog it a while back. You can check it out http://muyiscoi.com/2011/11/easyblaze-ing-the-trail/

  • http://www.arthurwales.com Wale Falade

    Hi Muyiscoi
    Most people attest to the speed of Etisalat’s easy blaze and your review did not deviate from that too. I was an early adopter of Etisalat’s services in Nigeria. and they have managed to create a niche for themselves. However, I will not subscribe to their services because their coverage area is quite limited and Nigerian Mobile ISPs have developed a habit of selective allocation of premium services to only selected geographical areas. I do wonder what percentage of Etisalat’s limited coverage area has “Easy Blaze” 3.75G speeds?
    By the way, the Cobranet plan I subscribed to is the least plan. Higher speeds are available for higher subscription fees.
    Lastly, I guess you made some typo errors in the speeds you quoted for Etisalat in ur earlier comment.

  • http://muyiscoi.com muyiscoi

    Yeah!. My bad. Its meant to be “640KBps”. “640MBps” would be outrageous!. My problem with ISPs in Nigeria is the data cap. It’s either you stick to the slow networks without data cap or migrate to the faster WiMax and 3G networks with data cap. For someone like me that likes to download stuff, it can be quite limiting. Would love to find a middle ground but so far, haven’t.

    • http://www.arthurwales.com Wale Falade

      I would stick to the faster access with a data cap. Been carrying about my unusable 64GB globacom internet data for a while now.

      • http://muyiscoi.com muyiscoi

        Been hearing terrible tales about Glo’s network service of late. Its a real shame!

  • Eye.Bee.Kay

    Sad. See how the networks have turned honest men into network prostitutes!

    I have had my own share of identifying s reliable ISP – in the past.Now,i am just weary!

    Glo is still crawling along with their super_snail speed (when it crawls at all!)

    I wonder how / when NCC will tackle these problems frontally..

    Let us hope this COBRA retains its lightning speed, and does not lose its biting edge.

    Mobitel- i hear- is also said to be doing well in speed now..

  • Nofan

    That cobranet is really bad I have plan of 2.5 MB/s, and in reality it is just 250 KB/S it means i am downloading at 30-40 kbps, even if my new modem MACH5 have full bar of signal strength. To achieve that I had to place my modem in the balcony to get speed because inside the room it was even 100KB/S. Very disappointed about that provider

    • Wale Falade

      I suspect that their coverage in your neighbourhood may not be very strong. You may need to have an installation set up for you outdoors – for free. Mail sales@cobranet.org, they are very responsive.

  • http://oviealbert.com Afewgoodmen

    Nice article, Wale. However, those of use in the interior of Nigeria can only gasp and envy you guys talking about Internet speeds and so on. Needless to say, there’s no Cobranet in Sapele, Delta state, where I reside. I daresay that the first reputable ISP with stellar services that do come here would make a ton load of money.

    People here are dying of data speed thirsts. So to say!