4G Speeds In Nigeria – The Hype vs The Reality

GLO-LOGOOut of curiosity, I enabled the 4G radio on my Samsung Galaxy S3 phone for the first time since i got it and was taken aback when i noticed the 4G icon. Expecting it to be a ruse, i decided to give my download speed a test and was pleasantly surprised at what i saw. Download speeds hovered mostly around the 2mbps mark with burst speed breasting the 4mbps mark. Wow! 30 minutes later, i got an even bigger surprise – nothing pleasant here –  i discovered that over 200mb from the 260mb data available on my phone had been zapped!. A data allocation that usually last for a month got used up in 30 minutes?! What?! Within the short period, i had downloaded a 74MB file from Youtube, did multiple speed tests, downloaded softwares and files, enjoying the newly discovered download speeds but forgetting that my data allocation was not unlimited. A text message from Globacom brought me to reality: “Dear Glo subscriber, 47.0Mb of the volume allocated to you is still remaining. Rule your world!”. What?!

This indeed was a new experience for me. I am not a light data user, not by a long shot, but the usual slow 2G and 2.75G speeds (Edge) that has more widespread coverage in Nigeria is, at best, epileptic and unreliably. You can use a 100MB data allocation for months, not because you do not want to use it but because you do not get to use it. Most times, i do not even get to use my data allocation at all, usually relying on WIFI, using the mobile data allocation only while i am on the road.

I enjoyed the 4G experience i had at my workplace, it was very new to me. The last time i experienced speeds like that was in the UK. However, the funny thing is that my home, barely 15 minutes away, could not boast of a reliable 2G connection. That is the fad in Nigeria. The networks  introduce cutting edge technology and make it available only in a sprinkle of locations and spend more money creating a hype out of it, boasting about been the first to do this or that. Recently, Airtel – another Nigerian mobile network, claimed to have completed its 4G trials in Lagos.

I honestly look forward to the day when 4G speeds would be common place in Nigeria. I only hope Jesus wouldn’t come before then. Sigh.


Airtel Nigeria completes LTE trial In Lagos?

airtelNews coming in suggests that Airtel Nigeria has successfully completed LTE trials in Lagos. Long Term Evolution (LTE), widely accepted as the true 4G, is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.

Download speed, under ideal conditions was 37 Megabits per Second (Mbps), while under non ideal conditions, was 32 Mbps; Upload speed was – 10.6 Mbps.

Many in Nigeria take such news from our mobile networks with a pinch of salt. I have always had a problem with Nigerian mobile networks and their quest to be seen as pioneers of latest telecommunication technologies in the country. Most times, it comes at a big cost to subscribers. The funny thing is, these networks can not even boast of successfully deploying 3G services to all parts of the country. Worst still, locations that boasts of 3G services have very epileptic services at best.

At the moment, the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), the regulatory body for the telecommunication sector in Nigeria decided to place a ban on all promos and lotteries in the Telecoms industry in a bid to improve the quality of the offerings from these networks by curtailing their excessive drive to increase their customer base. However, the ban appears to have created little impact, as service quality remain poor across networks, five weeks after the ban.

As it is, we can only watch and pray for improved services because as with most things in Nigeria, the customers have very little say.

Gadgets Mobile

Cydia App Store – Recomended Apps

Recently, Apple updated the Operating System of its devices (iPod touch, iPad and iPhone) from IOS version 4.3.3 to 4.3.4, and 10 days later, to version 4.3.5. Funny thing is, not a few people have refused to upgrade from 4.3.3.

The reason is simple.

IOS 4 would only be available for a few more weeks, to be replaced by IOS 5. So, really no point in wasting time and resources in upgrading. But more importantly, those in the jaibreak community have found it unwise wasting their time jailbreaking any other IOS 4 version for this same reason.

Apple continually updates its operating system,primarily, to get ahead of those that jailbreak its devices. By jailbreaking your device, you will be removing whatever restrictions Apple may have placed on these devices. You will be able to install apps that would enhance the features of your devices, more than Apple would want you to.

The largest collection of these jailbreak apps can be found at the Cydia Store. Some of these apps are quite revolutionary and are must-haves, while some were actually rejected by Apple for being below set quality standards.

Below is a list of recommended apps for the iPad available at the Cydia App Store;

1. Top on the list is Phoneitipad ($19.99), a revolutionary app that turns your regular 3G iPad device to a full fledged phone. Of course, the reason why this app never made it to the Apple app store is quite obvious, the app makes your iPad all what Apple never wants it to be. Did I mention that this app was developed by Africans? The app costs $19.99, payable via paypal and amazon payments, which is acceptable in Nigeria. The app also comes with a nice SMS application like the one on the iPhone. In summary, your iPad is now one big iPhone! I have used this app for over a month and I have no regrets.

2. With your iPad now acting as a phone, you may require some other apps to make this experience a more fulfilling one. SBSchedule ($3) is a premium add on to the free app, SBSetting. The app allows you to create ringtone profiles for your device. This is a must have for even iPhone users as Apple has not deemed it fit to include such a feature in any of its devices. iPhoneTool is a free alternative developed for iPhone but works well on the iPad.

3. Installous – This is the reason why most people probably jailbreak their phones, the lure for free apps. The app gives you access to a huge collection of cracked apps.

4. Appsync – This app allows you to sync all your ill-gotten apps with iTunes and Apple will be no wiser.

5. IOS 5 would be launching in a few months with a very much improved notification system, thanks to MobileNotifier, a jailbreak app. Apple actually employed the developer of this app, Peter Hajas, to work with its own team in incorporating this notification feature in IOS 5. A good alternative to this app is LockInfo.

6. MyWi 4.0 ($19.99) – You can easily share the Internet access on your iPad with your PC via USB, WIFI or Bluetooth with absolutely no need for any configuration on your PC. This is an extreme cost saving measure as you do not have to subscribe to a separate Internet plan for your PC. However, my experiences with Nigerian mobile Internet services is frustrating as browsing speed is extremely slow.

7. WIFI Sync ($9.99) – This app has made the use of a cable redundant in syncing your Apple devices with iTunes as syncing via WIFI is now possible. However, a separate installer is required to be installed on your PC.