Categories
Entertainment

Netflix Arrives Nigeria – Quick Facts

  • netflix-logo3 Subscription plans available US$7.99/US$9.99/$11.99 per month. Details here . GT Bank rate is about N270 for US$1
  • New subscribers get one month free viewing. BUT you are required to provide your card details to sign up. Automatic debit occurs after 30 days – unles you cancel before then.
  • 4 Streaming formats available; LOW, SD, HD and Ultra HD
  • On an 8 inch tablet, LOW format renders quite well, consuming 300MB/hr. Watched Idris Elba’s “Beasts of no nation”. Other options; SD 0.7GB/hr, HD 3GB/hr and ultra HD 7GB/hr
  • Netflix has geographical restrictions.The US market, expectedly, is the most favoured. However, this VPN app worked well for me on my Android tab to bypass this restriction.
  • “House of Cards” and a bunch of popular TV Shows and movies are not available for viewing in Nigeria! Heard DSTV bought the rights from Sony for “House of Cards”. With your VPN app, however, you bypass this restriction.
  • Glo Internet, as terrible as it may seem to many, has the most cost effective plans for Netflix. Especially if you subscribe to the Android BIS Hack.
  • Glo also has a Weekend data plan of N500 for 3GB. However, you need to have an existing subscription to use this. Details here.
  • Though there have been a flurry of activities from the Mobile Networks to provide more generous data plans, unfortunately, Netflix is not going to be a threat to DSTV in Nigeria anytime soon due to high data cost.
Categories
Advertorial

Cobranet Reviews Its Data Plans, More GB For Your Money!

With N6,500 monthly, I now get 9Gb data allocation from Cobranet for my “Home Bronze” subscription, up from 7Gb. Even better deals are available on other monthly and time based plans. Details available on their Facebook page or website.

Extra value added to this offer include;

  • The option to rollover to the next month unused data
  • For the download junkies, free browsing every day from 10pm to 8am.

Other benefits include;

  • Modem/WiFi router combo. No need to buy a separate router to share Internet access in your home/office.
  • Online renewal of your subscription using your ATM card, even when your subscription has run out.

Wish the mobile networks and other ISPs will be less rigid with their pricing and take a cue from this. Would be great, though, if Cobranet could come up with some sort of MiFi so i could ditch the mobile networks finally!

Nice move, Cobranet.

1512574_792863894062256_279250421_n

Categories
Gadgets

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.

Categories
Articles

Are Nigerian Mobile Networks Heading For Financial Crisis?

Recently, one of Nigeria’s four GSM Service Providers, Etisalat Nigeria, rolled out a unique bundle offering  called EasyFlex. In this offering, you get to choose a bundle comprising of Short Messaging Service (SMS), voice and data services.

For N1000, one of the plans offer you 100 minutes of talk time to any local network, 100 Megabytes of data and 400 sms – also to any network. This same GSM provider ordinarily offers calls to other local networks at very low rates, forcing their counterparts to tow the line.

It is very comforting that market forces is now driving the Telecomm sector in Nigeria. However, the offer of cheap SMS by mobile networks may not be particularly enticing as the trend worldwide is placing increasingly less focus on SMS as a means of communication. People would rather use other Instant Messaging (IM) medium like Samsung’s ChatOn, Apple’s iMessage, WhatsApp, Nimbuzz, Imsy and numerous others.

Personally, I can not remember the last time I used a paid SMS service. Some services like VConnect and get2Sms offer specific numbers of sms freely. Google also allow you to send free SMS to most Nigerian networks while Facebook allow you free access on select networks.

These free services have always come in handy the few times i need to use SMS.

The bundled SMS is, however, not a deal breaker for Etisalat because even with the SMS taken out of the equation, the N1000 package is probably worth almost N3000 if the included services are used on a Pay as you go basis.

Promotional offers is now the trend in Nigeria and the subscribers are finally getting back what they had been ripped off of in the past. So much so that the regulatory body, NCC, had to step in to put a halt to the ”çat fight”. Competition is now fierce as revenue, especially, from voice calls keep plummeting. This is partly because the number and duration of voice calls have drastically reduced. There was a time in this country when networks were billing per minute. They are now billing per second, coupled with the fact that competition has driven down voice call charges to less than a quarter of what they used to be. SIM cards are being given out (practically) for free. One of the other things eating into the revenue of these networks is the use of satellite telephony to connection to the internet for close to free.

All these pose serious financial challenges to our networks here.

Meanwhile, like with every business in Nigeria, running costs keep rising. Recurrent expenditure is shooting through the roof for these networks.

Revenues are dwindling, running costs are rising. Add these two together, and you have a veritable recipe for business disaster.

It is no surprise that most CDMA Operators have closed shop in Nigeria. There are mergers and acquisitions going on. With or without economies of scale, it appears that revenue in the Telecommunications Sector is dwindling and will continue to dwindle in the foreseeable future.

This has left me wondering whether the pervading cutthroat competition in the telecoms sector would not  leave casualties in its path.

We have a situation where there is a crying need to improve the Quality of service of the Operators by investing more in infrastructure. They need to expand the network capacity. How are they going to be able to do this when revenue is being forced downwards? Any business faced with this kind of scenario would look for ways to reduce expenditure, so as to improve on their bottomline.

And I fear the first ports of call would probably be ‘downsizing’, more pronounced outsourcing, reduction of staff emolument, smart tax avoidance (not evasion) strategy.

This may not be all good news for subscribers at all.

In what way do you think these networks can escape this “Catch – 99” situation?

Do you forsee a improvement s in the Quality of Service, due to the ferocious combination.

Or are you like me – I can already see cracks, and a deterioration in service rendition. I see vicious competition having a “MAD” quality about it already– Mutually Assured Destruction.

What is your take?

Categories
Gadgets

Poor Service Quality – Why NCC Got it Wrong

Recently, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in a public statement warned MTN, Globacom and Airtel that it would stop them from selling Subscriber Identification Module (SIM) cards by the end of this month if they fail to improve the quality of service (QoS) on their mobile networks.

The telecommunications regulator who issued the operators a 30-day ultimatum with effect from November 1, 2011, went further by saying that any new SIM card sold, or additional subscriber added to the network in contravention of the direction, would attract a penalty of N1,000,000 ( one million naira) per subscriber added.

The Commission indicated that after the expiration of the 30-day deadline, it would strictly enforce the impending directive which contravention will attract a penalty of N5,000,000 ( Five Million Naira), and additional N500,000( Five Hundred Thousand Naira) per day that such contravention persists. In addition to the above, failure of any of the operators to meet the quality of service targets from November 30, 2011 would attract a fine of N500,000 (Five Hundred Thousand Naira) for every month of failure.

According to Mr. Reuben Mouka, Head, Media and Public Relations, NCC, this deadline follows a dismal performance by the three operators on quality of service from the result of an independent monitoring exercise carried out by the Commission across the country which showed that all the three operators failed to meet with four key performance indicators (KPIs) that are crucial for quality of service improvements as set by the Commission.

“It is not in doubt that the customer experience on your network has been far from satisfactory, especially as the Commission has been inundated with complaints from various subscribers on this matter”, it said in the correspondence to the three respective operators in which it expressed concerns that the operators were not doing enough to reverse the trend of unacceptable quality of service which had persisted for too long.

KPIs

The Key Performance indicators measured by the Commission included Call Set Up Success Rate, Call Completion Rate, Stand Alone Dedicated Control Channel and Handover Success Rate.

Since the advent of the telecom boom especially, global service for mobile communications (GSM) in the country, Nigerians have come to associate poor quality of system as part of the price they have to pay for inadequate telecommunications infrastructure.
Industry analysts acknowledge that it’s no longer news that at times a subscriber may have to dial more than five times before connecting a call. That call may at times be affected by what is called noise in communications parlance, that is, the caller may experience some conflicting sounds from another line or his/her call is inaudible.

Also, the caller may as well not be able to complete that call and may have to repeat the call several times just to pass his/her message across to the receiver. Nigerian subscribers have at times put a call across and someone else unknown to them picks the call only for them to redial the same number and it will go to the right person they are trying to reach.

Ban On Sales Promotions

It is common knowledge that since the Nigerian telecom regulator lifted the ban on sales promotions by mobile service providers; the quality of service has worsened. Early this year the mobile operators lobbied the regulator to allow them conduct promos aimed at celebrating 10 years of telecom revolution in Nigeria.

The NCC said no, urging the operators to improve their telecom networks before such request could be granted. Now, sales promos in various guises such as SIM Registration promos, free credit promos, 10-year anniversary promos, etc are in full swing and the congestions on the networks are back.

More Network Investments

Mr Gbenga Adebayo, president, Association of Licenced Telecom Operators of Nigeria, Alton, said the telecom market needs investments to build a network that is resilient. Nigeria currently has less than 20,000 base stations, while a city like London has more than 50, 000 base stations. The operators need to spend more on building cell sites, building data centres and transmission backbone.

The NCC has the responsibility of protecting the Nigerian telecom subscriber, ensuring that top quality services are rendered. After all, it is the subscriber that pays the bill of the operators. It behoves on the NCC to look no further and identify the cause of poor quality of service and put an end to the suffering telecom subscribers go through currently.

Source : allafrica.com

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Categories
Gadgets

Glo With Pride?!

I guess it is no longer news that Nigeria’s home brewed mobile network company, Globacom, has been having serious issues delivering on its obligations. Going on 72 hours now, its mobile internet services has been down, a reflection of the epileptic services it has been offering for the best part of this year.

This is, probably, also a reflection of the state of the Mobile Networks in Nigeria where more money is spent in “hyping” their services than providing the service itself.

Globacom is a 100 percent Nigerian privately owned telecommunications carrier with over 25 million subscribers. Other big players in the Nigerian mobile sector include MTN (South African), Airtel (Indian) and Etisalat (UAE).

Much as I like the Globacom because of the dynamism and affordabilty it has brought to the Nigerian mobile sector, it really needs to put its house in order. For now, I am moving on to another competitor, hoping it would only be for a short while.

“Glo with pride?!”

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Categories
Articles Gadgets

Mobile Internet Usage In Nigeria

Nigeria is a country in West Africa with a population of over 150 Million, the most populous in Africa. With this statistics, it comes as no surprise that Nigeria has been listed as having the highest number of Internet users on the continent  and 10th in the world. However, Nigeria was conspicuously absent from the list of top countries with broadband internet users.

The quality of internet access in Nigeria is, at best, extremely unreliable. Most individuals get on the internet via the mobile networks ISPs who, despite false claims of mobile broadband speeds, can hardly boast of 2.5G (GPRS) speeds in most places, if at all. And all these, unfortunately, at a high premium!  Nigeria has the most market share for mobile phone browsing in the world, with over 31% of all internet content being accessed from mobiles. More details can also be found on Opera website. A bulk of the remaining 69% of users accessing the internet also do so via “3G” USB modems provided by these mobile networks. As of today, broadband speed is almost non-existent in Nigeria, perhaps only available to a very select few that i do not know of. You can read more about the state of Nigerian Mobile sector here.

Of the mobiles used in browsing the web, the Nokia brand of phones are still the market leaders by a very long mile, thanks to its perceived reliability and cheapness of some of its low end phones. But how well are the other mobiles by other manufacturers faring? I was particularly interested in knowing the rate of usage of the iPad and android tablets in Nigeria. A very fair way of getting this statistics is from the mobile internet usage reports.

Statcounter rates the number of users of  iOS devices (iPhones and iPads) more than the collection of Android devices users in Nigeria. Could this be true?

Categories
Gadgets

Push Email – Revisited

Love it or hate it, the Blackberry has indeed become the device of choice for a lot of mobile enthusiasts, especially those who want to conduct business on the move.  Another category of users are those, who more out of peer pressure than anything else, find themselves clutching one, not considering the fact that they can barely afford it and greatly ignorant to the advantages the device confers. These are the set of people that would rather offer their BB pins than their mobile numbers, no “credit” for phone calls.

And for those of us who are torn between loving and hating this range of devices,  we would quickly list the following as some of the reasons why we have not caught the Blackberry bug;

– You can not use BlackBerry effectively unless you have a BlackBerry Internet plan. You are effectively tied to the apron strings of your network provider because without it, there is no blackberry messenger or email support.
– Theoretical “unlimited” data usage limited by the less than 3MB download limit using the in-built BlackBerry Browser and email client, a restriction placed by Blackberry.
– Less features compared to phones of similar or even lesser pricing
– Constant access to work.Your boss and co-workers will expect constant communication,  ignoring company emails can have negative effects. This is especially true if your BlackBerry is provided by an employer with demanding deadlines.
– Blackberry devices and Internet Plan are rather expensive and unaffordable to many.

smartphone push email

Grudgingly, we have also identified the following as the advantages or the edge blackberry devices have over other smartphones;
– They use up much less wireless network capacity to complete the same tasks, but some attribute this to the crappy, outmoded Web browser that doesn’t deliver comparable modern Web experience.
– Longer battery life
– Most Blackberries have usable QWERTY keyboards, so you can actually type fast and with no errors

But one major feature that is really the envy  of most is the Email Superiority. This was also our summation in a related post, in which we limited its efficiency only to the quality of internet services being offered by the mobile networks.

So what exactly are the features of Blackberry email messaging that separates it from the rest?
Email was the original purpose of BlackBerry devices and even after numerous operating system changes and upgrades, the email program still works much like it always did. BlackBerry is a Pioneer of Push Email. Wikipaedia describes PUSH EMAIL as e-mail systems that provide an always-on capability, in which new e-mail is actively transferred (pushed) as it arrives by the mail delivery agent (MDA) (commonly called mail server) to the mail user agent (MUA), also called the e-mail client. E-mail clients include smartphones and, less strictly, IMAP personal computer mail applications.Your emails, Calender are synced all the time.

Some alternatives were analyzed, Seven and Emoze email clients were listed among the best. However, these email clients are limited by their functionality. They act mostly by polling emails from email servers on a scheduled basis and pulls any messages into unique folders in your device. This process, apart from the fact that you do not get your mails in real time, it also drains your battery heavily.

push email smartphones

I took it upon myself to find a more satisfying and equally efficient alternative to the Blackberry, an alternative where i am not required to use any particular device and to a large extent, play by my own rules and not that dictated by any network.

Microsoft Exchange Hosting does pretty much all what Blackberry does and will work across lots of devices. You can pick up any symbian device and either use the free Mail4Exchange or the more reliable RoadSync which is not free. You can also use activesync with your Mobile Outlook for Windows Mobile devices, your iPhone, Android, Palm or just about any device that supports Microsoft Exchange. In a full Exchange environment, not only is everything synced at the server with the mobile device, and depending on your subscription, you would also get a free copy of Outlook 2007 for your home computer as part of the deal and that would also be synced with the server.  So changes to your email, calendar, notes or contacts made on, say, your computer will update the server and the mobile. Everything is synced and pushed in real time.

The cheapest Microsoft Exchange hosting i have been able to research is from mail2web.com. It offers 3 mobile email services;

mail2web Basic
FREE
mail2web Mobile Email
($4.95 or N750/month)
mail2web Mobile EmailPro ($9.95 or N1500/month)
Outlook Web Access Yes Yes Yes
POP3, IMAP4 and SMTP NO Yes Yes
ActiveSync NO Yes Yes
BlackBerry Service Add-On NO Yes Yes
RoadSync Add-On NO Yes Yes
Outlook 2007/2010 (Windows) NO NO Yes
Entourage 2008 (Mac) NO NO Yes

To effectively get a blackberry-like service on your smartphone, all you need is the mobile Email Plan going for $4.95 per month (about 750 Nigerian Naira).

From the chart, BlackBerry Service Add-On simply means that if you have a Blackberry device, you can avoid subscribing to any mobile network. All you need do is pay a minimum of $4.95 for a mobile Email Plan, then an additional $9.95 for a Blackberry service add-on, making a total of $14.90 (about N2,250 per month).

You would still need to subscribe to one of the low cost monthly data plan from, well, the mobile networks. A 50MB plan is more than sufficient, but I doubt if there is any. Etisalat and Airtel (Zain) have a 100 MB data plan for N1,000 per month. But if you’ll rather use Microsoft Outlook, you do not need a mobile data plan for this.

So with just N1,750 per month (could be less), I can effectively rival blackberry services.

But why dabble in uncertainties? Thankfully, mail2web.com is offering a 60 day trial, so you have a long time to test their services before subscribing. However, you will need to leave your card details but you can cancel if you wish. Nigerian Cards Accepted.

You do not have to host your domains with mail2web.com or tamper with your Nameservers in anyway, like some providers may require you to, to subscribe to their services.

The only thing close to a snag that I have noticed is that you are required to create an email address in the form username@mail2web.com, this is the default address mails from all mailboxes would be sent from. You are also required to enable email forwarding from as many mailboxes as you want to this mail box. This is easily done in gmail and CPanel hosted emails. However, the process of changing the default address that mails would be sent from is not very straight forward.