Mobile data is currently expensive. Very expensive. If you have a budget of N1,000 per month, the most you can get for that is 200MB. If you need 1GB of mobile internet, you need to have at least a N3,000 budget for that. Recently, I ran into the following tweet:
I dream of the day when a 3GB data plan will go for a thousand naira only. Emphasis on DATA
— The Pundit (@CaptSpacely) June 19, 2013
I responded to him that it would happen, and soon too. The reason I gave is that there is so much unused capacity lying fallow that the way to go is to crash prices if they are going to get used. As at end of last year, Nigeria had a total capacity of 9.88 Tb/s (terabits per second). According to an insider, less than 10% of that capacity is currently being used. There is a huge amount of capacity under-utilisation.
Main One Cable recently rebranded to Main One. The rebranding marked the conclusion of the company’s evolution from a submarine cable company to a full-fledged communications services provider, and now offer last mile solutions. Obviously, Main One noticed the gap in last mile delivery and have stepped in to help bridge it.
Nigeria needs cheaper internet access, but the need goes beyond just that. There is a need for reliable internet access. Fibre optics is a good way to deliver that reliability, and companies like Main One and others are tackling that. It remains to be seen how well wireless service providers can rise to the challenge and improve on service quality of their mobile internet packages. Across the country, mobile internet subscribers have lots of complaints about 3G services not living up to the tag “broadband”. We can only hope that things change soon.
Beyond Fibre and GSM wireless, a new class of service providers are arriving on the scene, deploying Wi-Fi hotspots here and there. Oxygen Broadband is one of them. Oxygen already covers several public locations in Lagos. This means that smartphone and tablet users can access the internet via Wi-Fi at an ever increasing number of places across the metropolis. The same is happening in some other cities across the country. Things can only get better from here.
Permit me to reiterate Captain Spacely‘s words: I have a dream. I dream of the day when a 3GB mobile internet data plan will cost N1,000 only. And I predict that this dream will be actualized soon.