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Gadgets

Innjoo – Service Par Excellence

Between June 1 and June 7,2015 Jumia had what it called its “Megathon”. Specific mobile phone models from selected manufacturers were sold at 50% off its retail value.

innjoo-one-gold_v8nhIt was an opportunity for me to pick up a phone for my workplace SIM. I decided on an Innjoo One – Gold that was being offered for N13,999.00 after applied discount.

I was not particularly thrilled with the specifications of the phone but who can refuse such a huge discount. I had noticed that, lately, most phones being churned out from Asia – particularly China – have very predicatble specifications; Google Android 4.4.2 KitKat (Don’t they know Lollipop’s been out for almost a year?!), 1GB/2GB RAM, Mediatek Processor (usually MT6592) with 16GB Internal Memory.I ranted about this extensively on twitter the night after i took delivery of the phone.

Shockingly, just a few minutes after my rant and as if with a mind of its own, the phone slid off the table and landed face down on the ceramic tiled floor. I was speechless for the whole of 2 minutes. This was nothing short of a “Harakiri” that the phone just pulled on me. I quietly packed up the phone and went to bed to grieve over the loss.

Next morning i called Innjoo service center and was informed that i would be parting with N8,500.00 to replace the shattered screen. Wow! Screen replacement is going to cost me more that half of what i paid for the whole phone!

Took a dash there during my lunch break, was given a tally number on arrival. However, i did not spend more than 10 minutes before i was attended to.

Apparently, the model is a recent release and the customer service lady expressed her doubt on the availability of a replacement screen.

“Can you give me a minute to speak with my supervisor?”, she asked.

Damn! I was already thinking in my mind how this was going to play out;

“Sorry we don’t have a replacement screen at the moment. Do you mind leaving the phone with us and come back for it in, say, 3 weeks?” I had made up my mind to smash the phone on their floor if she comes back with such a response.

She was back a few minutes later and started, “Sorry we don’t have a replacement screen at the moment…”. Damn! Knew it! But she continued,”Do you mind if we replace with a new one? You will only be paying the same N8,500.00″

New one?! Really! Wow!

“Sure, sure” I responded excitedly “I don’t mind”

5 minutes and N8,500.00 later, i was out of the service center with a brand new Innjoo One – Gold phone.

A very happy ending to a rather sad experience. Innjoo, you get my vote for good service delivery.

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Uncategorized

Still On Gmail’s 2-Step Verification In Nigeria

2-Step VerificationI still do not know why Gmail’s 2-Step Verification is not supported in Nigeria. I published a work around to this in an article last year (see the link here) but it was very short-lived. I would want to believe that it was a mere coincidence but a few weeks after the publication, Google disabled the workaround.

As it is, nothing short of getting a mobile SIM card from one of the supported countries will do.

In this era of SIM card roaming, it is quite possible to use a foreign SIM card in Nigeria. Many of these networks have mutual roaming agreements. However, the key point here is to ensure that you meet the minimum requirement of maintaining such SIM cards to prevent them from running out of their validity period.

I have a Pay-As-You-Go SIM card from T-Mobile (USA). The minimum requirement to keep this line is a $3 monthly fee which lets me keep the number from month to month. With this network’s roaming agreement with Etisalat Nigeria, you can receive text messages for free but pay a token (i think 15 cents) to send messages.

This is a perfect arrangement to receive Gmail’s 2-Step Verification codes on your phone.

Modalities for getting these foreign SIMs vary from country to country. Let us chat about this. You may leave your comments below.

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Gadgets Technology

I Sold My Samsung S3 Phone Today

Sold off my Samsung S3 [US Version] phone today. I had used it for about a year.

It was a tough decision to make as i had grown attached to the device and it did serve me well. But the fact is, i needed to move on. It had become a case of functionality and convenience over emotional attachments.

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I use two SIMs/Phones on a regular day, a work line and a personal one. Coupled with an android tablet, my usual day see me lugging all these devices around with me. Not much fun at all, trust me. I had decided a while back that dual SIM was the future for me and thankfully, the market for this class of phone is increasingly becoming vibrant. No better time than now to make a change.

Released in June 2012, the Samsung S3 is still a hugely popular phone and its listing is among the most viewed on gsmarena.com. Those that own the S3 do not see its successor, the Samsung S4, as being a worthy upgrade due to its minor incremental and largely unneeded additional features.

If it is any consolation, I did sell the S3 good, all N45,000 (US$280) that i asked for it.

Question now is, which phone do i use in the stead of the S3? Of course i know no dual SIM can touch the specifications of the S3 by a mile, but any dual SIM phone with decent specs will suffice for me for now, while hoping Samsung (or other manufacturers) will come out with better offers come 2014.

Below are the phones i am considering;

1. Tecno Phantom A+ vs Samsung Galaxy Grand

The Tecno brand has tried to redefine the perception the African market has about Chinese mobile phones. I got the Tecno Phantom A+ phone for my wife a couple of weeks ago. Only one word can summarize my experience with the device; Un-freaking-believable! (hope that qualifies as a word?). Sharp screen, very responsive and generous accessories (8GB card, memory bank, flip pouch). All for less than N35,000 – even at jumia.com.ng!

My major grouse with the phone is its limited internal memory, only 4GB.

The Samsung Galaxy Grand Duos shares almost similar specs with the Phantom A+ (love that name), even losing out in some specs but selling for much more, about N46,000! How much of this amount are we paying for the Samsung brand name?!

‘Nuff said, Tecno comes tops here!

Below is a comparison of some of the key specs;

[ws_table id=”6″]

2. Tecno Phantom A2 vs Samsung Galaxy Mega 5.8

The Phantom A2 is not necessarily a direct upgrade to the Phantom A+, i will probably liken it to comparing the Samsung S4 with the Samsung Note 3. My personal opinion.

Compared to the A+, the Phantom A2 substitutes its screen with a 5.7 incher, the front camera with 1.9MP and the price with about N43000.

Definitely, the Tecno loses out on this one. Notwithstanding that the Galaxy Mega costs about N56000, no way i am going to shell out N43k for such miserly specs. Tecno needs to be careful, the brand is still not strong enough to command such prices. I suggest they stick to sub N40000 prices.

Check out the spec comparison;

[ws_table id=”7″]

The results are in, definitely it is a Tecno on my mind. I have used and still own Samsung devices. Would be a nice idea to see if the other side is indeed greener.

My eyes are definitely on the Phantom A+, value for my money.

Phantom A Plus big

 

Categories
Gadgets

MTN Mobile Number Portability – My Experience

sakaAnd so i decided to pay yet another visit to the MTN friendship center located within Ikota Shopping Complex, next door to the high brow Victoria Garden City (VGC) in Ajah. It was with a bit of apprehension.

My first visit did not go too well. I had walked into a fairly sized crowd and the doorman handed me a tally number putting me at the end of the queue of 30 people. I paused for a few seconds and scurried out through the door. No way i was going to spend my lunch break hanging out with the folks in MTN.

It was with this mindset that i approached the friendship center again, with the hope of having my number ported from Globacom to Nigeria’s biggest network, MTN. This time around, I was in for a big shocker. Surprisingly, the place was almost empty with only one person in line! This was too good to be true, there has to be a catch somewhere. And indeed there was.

I was given a form to fill and i fished out my international passport which i presented to the pretty lady behind the counter, who i later got to know as Chinwe. She carefully explained to me that their network systems were down.

What?! How predictable! In my head, i was already composing a very nasty post i would publish about my experience. Unfortunately, that was not to be. Chinwe saved the day.

After explaining to me about the system downtime, she nevertheless took my details down, gave me a “Welcome Back” replacement SIM and I even got to register the SIM. I left the place with a special thank you to her. I had barely arrived back at my destination when i got a call from her. Apparently, their system was up. She asked for a few more details and finally asked me to send the magic word “PORT” to the shortcode 3232. Believe it or not, about 2 hours later when i checked my old SIM it was inactive. I inserted my new MTN SIM and Y’hello, i was locked on to the MTN network.

What a nice lady, Chinwe. That particular friendship center would be seeing my face very soon – as soon as i can think of a reason!

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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

Regulator begins service quality probe of ‘Big Three’ GSM operators

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) has commenced fresh service quality verification tests offered by the three biggest GSM operators in the country amid the expiration of the November 30 deadline for them to improve service quality or risk a sales ban.

Director, Public Affairs, NCC, Tony Ojobo confirmed the commencement of the quality of service (QoS) tests in an interview with Technology Times at the weekend saying that fresh tests promised by the telecoms regulator have been set in motion and are currently underway across sample locations across the country.

Ojobo did not give further details of the QoS tests being conducted officials of the telecoms regulatory agency to crosscheck that key performance indicators (KPIs) mandated by NCC have been met at the expiration of the November 30 deadline to the affected operators.

Hitherto, NCC directed the Big 3 players, MTN, Glo Mobile and Airtel that control over 90 per cent market share, to meet some defined KPIs or risk being banned from selling new SIM cards, a development that will prevent them from adding new subscribers.

The regulator says its intention to impose the sales ban arose from overwhelming complaints by subscribers over flagging network quality by the affected operators.

Following the expiration of the deadline, officials of NCC have now swung into action to conduct detailed tests hoped to gather information about the prevailing state of network operation and allied service quality determinants, says the NCC’s spokesman.

NCC did not offer hints about the coverage areas for the test nor the time frame but promised that the result should be ready before the end of this month. The outcome will also inform further steps that will be taken on the intention to bar any of the erring three GSM operators from adding new lines, Ojobo adds

Industry insiders have ruled out the possibility of any of the affected networks being able to meet the strict condition on service quality by the deadline stipulated by NCC, a development that may have seen them brace up for the regulatory hammer.

“NCC is committed to the enforcement of the intention earlier communicated to the affected operators but this will be done in a scientific and empirical manner”, Ojobo had told Technology Times in a previous interview.

NCC’s stance comes in the wake of a 30-day ultimatum that the three operators improve poor quality of service offered their subscribers across the country or face the full wrath of the telecoms regulatory agency.

The threat followed result of the dismal performance by the three operators on quality of service following the outcome of an independent nationwide monitoring exercise carried out by NCC, says the regulator.

The result of the exercise revealed that trio failed to level up with four key performance indicators (KPI) laid down by NCC to improve the quality of service rendered, the regulator says underscoring that unless they attain the defined levels of service quality by November 1, 2011, they will be barred from further sale of SIM cards to add new subscribers.

A number of monetary penalties will also be imposed on operators that contravene the provisions of the directive that include a fine of N1million per new SIM card sold or additional subscriber added to the network when the sanction goes into effect.

Further defaults will also attract a penalty of N5 million per subscriber added plus N500, 000 per day that the operator contravenes the directive. This is in addition to a N500, 000 fines for every month of contravention, according to NCC.

NCC hopes to invoke provisions of the Nigerian Communications Commission Quality of Service Regulations 2011 stipulating the powers of the telecoms regulator to intervene in ensuring that operators provide efficient and effective services to their subscribers.

The regulation identifies minimum quality of service (QoS) and related measurement, reporting and recording keeping task while also saddling telecoms operators with various responsibilities to their subscriber.

According to its provisions, the Regulation seeks to protect and promote the interest of consumers against unfair practices including tariffs and charges, availability and quality of communications services, equipment and facilities, among others.

Importantly, the NCC Regulation also seeks to improve service quality by spotting service deficiencies and encouraging, enforcing and requiring appropriate changes.

Along this line, it equally seeks to maintain service quality while recognizing environmental and operating conditions and promote making information available to help with informed customer choice of services and licensees.

While also seeking to improve the operation and performance of interconnected networks, among its other objectives, the Regulation stipulates that reporting periods during which measurements are taken and recorded shall typically begin from the first day of each month to the last day of the month or “as the Commission may from time to time determine.”

The Regulation empowers the telecoms watchdog to carry out network measurement test and obtain data through drive test, Mobile Base Station Probe tests, Consumer Survey, data collection from operators or NCC Network Operating Centres (NOCs)/Network Management Centres (NMCs), among others.

“The Commission’s NOC/NMC may rely on real-time data acquired from feeds. KPI Measurements may be carried out at all network segments including at BTS, Cell, BSC or MSc levels”, says the Regulation.

 

Source : technologytimesng.com

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

“Call Me On My Ipad …”

The internet is awash with a lot of news about the iPad phone, courtesy of the guys from iphoneislam. One thing is very certain, these guys from Egypt have pulled the biggest hat trick this year.

I decided to take the bull by the horns and proceeded to download the app via the alternate app store, CYDIA. It is a 7MB file which took forever to download, thanks to MTN Nigeria’s “broadband” speeds. After installation, i was presented with a single icon on my desktop. Launching this icon gives a screen containing the serial number of your device which will be inputted during the payment process.

Next step is to go to http://www.iphoneislam.com/phoneitipad/ where you would have to activate your device to use the app. You also need to make sure that your ipad has internet access on it, preferrably WIFI as it seems the PhoneItiPad app disabled the unactivated SIM from functioning.

Payment was via a 3rd party payment processor, AVANGATE, and yes, Nigerian cards are accepted! After the payment process has been completed, you may need to close the app on your ipad and relaunch it.

After rebooting your ipad, two icons would be displayed on your device, one for phone calls and the other for SMS.

That is about all for the installation process!

IMG_0012

Next step is to take it for a spin. I launched the phone app and got this oversized dial screen;

IMG_0018

Decided to give myself a buzz from my HTC TyTn II phone to see what the screen looks like;

IMG_0023

Of course i did not pick my own call, no “credit” on my phone. Luckily, my brother from Port Harcourt gave me a shout out;

The call quality was great, was not depreciated in any way than you would ordinarily get.

Making calls on the ipad can be done via the speaker of the device and the mic. I am not sure if there are any earpieces that combines the speaker function and the mic. However, i still have the earpiece of my ipod touch which i am using.

I have not tested a bluetooth earpiece with it (wouldn’t it be nice?) but from what i have read, i am not sure if any would work with it. there seem to be a number of bluetooth devices like the Arctic Sound P311 that just might work well with it.

In all, it is a $19.99 (N3, 200) well spent.

Why not give me a call on my ipad?

Categories
Gadgets Mobile

Make Calls On Your iPad Using Your SIM Card

One thing you can not take away from the iPad is the almost inexhaustible number of apps, some of which have greatly enhanced the capability and functionality of the device.

Before now, voice calls on your iPad was restricted to VOIP using apps like TEXTFREE WITH VOICE . But now, you do it using your SIM card!

So much has been said about Apple and its EXTREME proprietary restrictions, this can only be the reason why voice and SMS features, using your SIM, were never enabled in the first instance. Many of the enhanced functions on the ipad requires you to have your device “jailbroken” to bypass Apple’s restrictions. Before now, about the only app available that could use your SIM card for messaging was SWIRLYSMS. It is available for free in Cydia store (Cydia is an app store for apps that did not make it to Apple’s app store for varied reasons).

PhoneItiPad is a premium app ($19.99 / N3500) that allows you to use your SIM card to make calls with or without an earpiece. The price is a little steep but i think it is still tempting enough. It is also available in the Cydia app store.

I can bet Apple would block this app in its next release so you may want to consider that before parting with your money.

Will give the app a spin and give a feedback.

Unfortunately, only users of  iPad 1 with 3G SIM and IOS 4.3.3 can enjoy this app. Sorry.

 

Categories
Gadgets

Unlock Your Etisalat Dual SIM Phones

I recently got a dual SIM phone from Etisalat, the variant without the camera. I needed the phone to house my numerous SIM cards as it is almost impossible in Nigeria to be loyal to any mobile network. And no, i am not a con artist, all my SIMs are duly registered!

Unfortunately, Etisalat signals is almost non-existent in my neighbourhood, so it was like i was carrying a dead weight around.

By the way, the phone is dirt cheap at less than N5000 (about US$30) and has the first SIM slot locked to Etisalat network.

The unlocking process is quite easy and, i hope, without risk. But if you brick yours in the process, well, it’s just N5000!

Here goes;

1. Get your phone’s IMEI number underneath your battery. There are two numbers there but you only need the first one.

2. Use the IMEI number to generate your unlock code from this site ; http://a-zgsm.com/calculator/

3. Do not insert any SIM into your phone. Replace the battery and switch it on.

4. Type the following code on your phone and press the left green (send) button; *983*8284#

5. You would be prompted to input a password. Insert the unlock code into the phone. Note that the phone may not accept all the characters of the unlock code, just insert as many as it would take.

6. Boom! Password Accepted. Your phone is unlocked! Insert any non-Etisalat SIM to confirm!