Need for super fast mobile Internet speed in Nigeria: from 4G to 5G

If you want to experience 200 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria, you have to look away from 4G mobile wireless networks and be ready to spend that money.

A US-based friend and I, were having a conversation about Nigeria (as if that is anything novel; it is difficult not to talk about Nigeria). Anyway, our discussion touched on the problems of infrastructure (the lack of it), and I mentioned how after electricity, one of the pain points of living and working in Nigeria is crappy Internet.

He immediately replied that with us getting 200 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria, it couldn’t be that bad. Wait, what?! I almost jumped out of my skin. 200 Mbps in Nigeria?

Are we talking about the same Nigeria? Note that we were discussing from the standpoint of mass market Internet services – basically mobile networks.

I regularly run speed tests on Glo, Airtel and 9mobile, and Smile, and none of them deliver 100 Mbps, talkless of 200. Not even Ntel 4G was able to deliver anything close to 200 Mbps in its hey days.

ntel 4g speedtest - 55 Mbps
55 Mbps is the best download speed I have recorded on Ntel

I will not go into the basis of his assumption, but we discussed it at length and I was able to show him that 200 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria is a pipe dream for 98% of the population – most of whom are dependent on mobile networks for their Internet connectivity.

Even Google’s Free hotspot, Google Station, at Ikeja City Mall did not deliver anything close to 100 Mbps when it was active. If you have been to ICM in the last one month, you would have noticed that the hotspot has been AWOL. I keep wondering what happened to it.

98% of Internet coverage in Nigeria is from the following service providers:

  • Glo
  • Airtel
  • MTN
  • 9mobile

On a smaller scale, you also have Spectranet, Swift, and Smile contributing a much smaller chunk to that percentage.

The other 2% is provided by those isolated ISPs that service no more than a few thousand subcribers each in big cities across the country. You might find one or two of those delivering 200 Mbps to corporate clients. But I bet you that none of the big players providing mass market wireless internet service are delivering anything close to 200 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria.

EE broadband
Want 200 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria?

The average Internet speed in Nigeria

Let’s look at the average Internet speed you can expect to experience in Nigeria if you use on of these mass market services from mobile networks and wireless providers. Here are results from speed tests from two 4G mobile networks that I have run in the last two months:

  • 6 Mbps download / 5.2 Mbps upload / 29 ms ping – 25th April on Glo 4G
  • 28.8 Mbps download / 30.5 Mbps upload / 117 ms ping – 26th April on Glo 4G.
  • 5.5 Mbps download / 2.7 Mbps upload / 145 ms ping – 14th May on Airtel 4G.
  • 12.9 Mbps download / 3.1 Mbps upload / 36 ms ping – 14th May on Glo 4G.
  • 14.9 Mbps download / 260 Kbps upload / 143 ms ping – 16th May on Airtel 4G.

These figures are typical across all 4G mobile networks in Nigeria and still within range of average 2014 4G speeds in Lagos and New York. As a matter of fact, OpenSignal reports that the fastest 4G LTE speeds around the world have peaked at 45 Mbps.

internet speed in nigeria
An example of the average internet speed in nigeria

The above figures are the average Internet speeds in Nigeria.

In other words, to experience 200 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria, you will have to look away from 4G mobile networks like MTN, Airtel, 9mobile, Glo, Smile, Ntel, Spectranet, and Swift. Even after looking away from those, you will have to look really hard and be ready to go broke just to experience that kind of speed. Chances are that you are not Dangote or Otedola. And I doubt that your father is Adenuga. But you will be okay.

Nigeria data plans

You will make do with what is available but must not give up the dream of better socio-economic infrastructure in Nigeria. We will dream and work towards uninterrupted power supply and affordable world-class Internet broadband in our homes and offices.

In rounding up, here is a quick FAG that provides answers to some of the questions you are asking about Internet speed in Nigeria.

Answers to your questions

What is the fastest Internet speed in Nigeria?

There are Internet users in Nigeria who have clocked over 100 Mbps in download speeds, but this was over cable connections via ISPs with smaller footprints. As for the fastest Internet spped on a mobile network, this varies across locations and with time. As at 2019, users have reported as high as 55Mbps on the MTN Nigeria network.

Which 4G network is best in Nigeria?

There are a number of factors that influence the choice of what may be considered the best 4G network in Nigeria. Such factors include coverage, speed and reliability, as well as pricing. We looked into this recently and came up with the verdict that Airtel currently has the best 4G network in Nigeria.

Which network is best for data in Nigeria?

The title of the best network for data in Nigeria is one we give to Airtel Nigeria once again. MTN comes a close second. In terms of affordability, Globacom offers the most pocket-friendly data plans, but it is often plagued by performance and reliability issues..

Which is the fastest network in Nigeria?

The battle for the fastest mobile Internet network in Nigeria is going to be a tussle between MTN and Airtel. Both networks offer the widest 2G/3G/4G coverage as well.

When will 5G be available in Nigeria?

The Nigerian Communications Commission has announced that allocation of 5G spectrum will take place in 2020, so it is unlikely that commercial 5G services will happen in Africa’s largest mobile market until late 2020 or early 2021. If we look at the commercial viability, it might happen later.

Conclusion

To be fair, there are not a lot of places in the world where you can experience 200 Mbps Internet download speed on a 4G mobile network. They are few. The global average is way less than that – below 100Mbps. 5G is already being deployed around the world and will change the game. 5G technology should solve the problem of getting super fast Internet speed in Nigeria.

Do you run speed tests on your mobile service provider? What speed figures are you getting? Feel free to share your speed test results with us in the comments section below.

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