4G "Broadband" at 400kbps?

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I hate writing about things like this, but I also easilly get miffed when false advertising is used to lure customers only to offer them a service that is far below what has been advertised.

3.5G services deliver a theoretical maximum of 3.6mbps or 7.2mbps depending on the installed capacity of your network operator. Using a 3.5G service from MTN or Glo, for example, you can experience over 1.8mbps during the fair hours of the day, and enjoy comfortable 200-600kbps speeds during other periods. Of course, we know that it gets worse than that at times.

The point is that with existing 3.5G services, the speeds we experience are not capped by the operator. Factors like congestion and weather conditions may affect the speeds that we experience but there is no deliberate cap.

It is why I feel miffed going through the service plans of Swift Networks and finding out that on their 4G WiMax “broadband” internet service, subscribers seem to be limited to experiencing maximum speeds of 400kbps, 512kbps, 768kbps and 1mbps depending on the plans they opt for. As Dayo would say, What is the meaning of that?

swift

WiMax should be delivering 3-6Mbps Down (with bursts over 10Mbps)

Why advertise your services as 4G if the majority of subscribers will be prevented from ever experiencing anything close to true 4G speeds?

While there are no data caps on the service plans, someone needs to tell them that 400kbps, 512kbps, 768kbps and 1mbps are not 4G speeds. Gosh, they are not even 3.5G speeds.

I have no beef against 4G, WiMax or Swift, but touting 4G as a marketing campaign when from the get-go subscribers have no chance of ever clocking 4G speeds sounds deceptive to me. Sorry, I am not biting.

PS: Before publishing this piece, I had mailed Swift networks to ask for clarification about their plans four (4) days ago. My intention is never to impact negatively on anyone’s millions of Naira worth of investments, hence my taking the pains to ask for information. Till date, however, I have not received a response. As such, I have proceeded with publishing this article.

Here is the mail with headers included:

from Yomi Adegboye
sender time Sent at 20:45 (GMT+01:00). Current time there: 19:00. ?
to tufot@swiftng.com
cc sales@swiftng.com
date 5 February 2011 20:45
subject Swift 4G
mailed-by yomiadegboye.com

Hello,

I was recently handed a brochure advertising your company’s 4G services. The brochure refered to your website, where I checked out the different plans. I observed that subscribers are limited to experiencing maximum speeds of 400kbps, 512kbps, 768kbps and 1mbps depending on the plans they opt for.

WiMax should be delivering 3-6Mbps Down (with bursts over 10Mbps). I am wondering why a service being advertised as 4G limits subscribers in a way that ensures that they will not experience 4G speeds.

Perhaps its a case of information on the website being out of date?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Yomi Adegboye
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief, MobilityNigeria.com
Managing Director, Alireta.com

Am I over-reacting and making a mountain out of a mole-hill? Is it just me? Since the good people at Swift haven’t had the time to clarify issues, is there anyone around here who uses or has used Swift’s 4G service and can tell us indeed whether the plans are so limited in maximum speed as published on their website?

Let’s hear from you, so interested subscribers can make intelligent choices.

20 comments

  1. I couldn’t resist laughing. It’s obvious that they (swift networks) don’t know a fart about what 4G is. Your mail most probably is giving them a hard time. Take it easy with them bro.

  2. What you have done is just.

    Infact you have spoken for millions of Nigerians and if its turn out that their website is wrong, they are still to be blamed.

    I was attracted by their series of fastest this fastest that and subsequent advert of 4G. Called thier office and this is the info I have – Modem costs 9,500 and You get 10GB for 6pm to 8am and 24/7 all wkend and public holyday @6,000/Month. Plus the modem is wifi and wimax enabled.

    The lady claims it really fast but how fast cos the advert says 4G.

  3. I have the opportunity of using the so-called 4G Wimax by Swift networks and I must tell you the advertised speed ain’t nothing but a FARCE. These networks just take us for fools because we never protest against the rubbish they offer us.

    NCC too isn’t helping matters at all. When they know these purported speeds aren’t attainable in Nigeria, all they do is turn a blind eye to this daylight robbery. Toothless bulldogs they really are.

    What a shame.

    1. I fully agree with most comments, it seems these providers just want to make outrageous claims of these services to confuse the general public.
      Even in the US, 4G is just becoming generally available.

      NCC, pls check these claims by the Providers. Thx.

  4. Off course, what do you expect? Please put the blame on the NCC, they are the regulatory body and are supposed to be in charge of monitoring and control of the qos of these providers. I believe all providers are guilty in one way or the other of ripping Nigerians, the swift network 4g package is really ridiculous just like when providers started introducing broadband back then. I’m still turning a deaf ear to all these 4g talk in Nigeria, common 3g isnt available everywhere in the urban areas let alone rural areas then some providers are coming out to announce 4g… I’m still trying to update myself with regarding the backward compatibility of the 4g platform, does it fall to 3.5g when 4g services are temporarily unavailble or you don’t get any form of connection? till I’m clear and convinced about the 4g platform in Nigeria I ain’t listening please !

  5. @Yomi. Easy oh. Lol. They will think you are putting sand in thier garri. I admire your courage challenging them. Pls lets send a petition to NCC regarding this matter cause i remember NCC stopping MTN from using the slogan ‘Your best connection’ God i miss the former V.C of NCC. He was a great and hard working man. May God give you strength Yomi,Amen.

  6. 4G and I laughed =)) =)) :(. With speed limit. We know better than this. Its high time we let them know we use these services and are responsible to helping some people make quality decissions.

    I would have fallen for the advert too. Limited speed! Prepostreous, I say.

    Browsing at max of 400kbps is like EDGE.

  7. Hopefully someone in the regulatory body has seen this article, gained some knowledge, and is acting on it.
    It ain’t wishful thinking right?

  8. I currently use swift, so I feel I should comment. The link you have is their old website. They are yet to fully launch their new website, but this is a link test.swiftng.com .

    They have currently capped their speed at 2Mbps for all plans(no more 400k, 512k and so on), and they have introduced data caps. I was part of their uncapped testing, and I was getting speeds of about 8Mbps at that time.

    I am not saying they offer true “4g” speeds(whatever that is), but it’s not as bad as the website makes it appear. I included a speedtest that was taken while writing this comment.

    [URL=http://www.speedtest.net][IMG]http://www.speedtest.net/result/1150885205.png[/IMG][/URL]

  9. This is a good thing. You were definitely not harsh. Let’s see what they do next. If they do not change their obnoxious and ambiguous marketing policy; then you have to take it up with the NCC!

  10. perhaps my background is affecting my judgment.Yomi spoke it as it is,why are some of us saying he should take it easy.This mentality of not calling a spade a spade has messed us up in this country.
    I reserve my intended comments as I pray for the Tunisian miracle in this country.Amen

  11. I bought 4 of their rubbish acclaimed 4G modem and am yet to connect I wonder why no one will shout out against this Injustice.

  12. if 4G=400kbps, then their 3G would be 300kbps and perhaps 10G would be1-Meg of bandwidth, which is what we want.Or perhaps, what they thought they were advertizing is that they have the capacity for 4G.

    Whichever way, your are right, 400kbps is not 4G, and if thats their advert, I believe they would have a very good explanation for it. Even the 3G that everyone is shouting about is not fully on the ground – here we are with 4G adverts. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

  13. I now use the controversial Swift4G.

    What I can say is that it is really fast (I live in New Oko oba, Agege)

    It opens pages fast
    It streams online videos in Standard definition, it only slows when I want to stream HD video. Though I think its a thing with the laptop pulling too much power because my Apple TV play online HD videos well.

    My conclusion
    Though it is very fast but certainly it is not 4G.

    If you are interested let me know

  14. This your article has opened my eyes. As a technical novice in this turf but an advertising expert i can see that the crime some adverts are committing can catch it’s own practitioner. I need a personal plug and play internet access-modem linked to network that is both fast and cheap. As an advertising creative i spend a lot of hours on net sourcing for images and other reference etc. But with this your article;though i m aware that they are cheating us in all of their operations but fear don catch me make i no dey bogged down with a network that will be annoying me. Ouestions- Are they actually operating on broadband? if yes can you pls privately e mail me who is truly operating on faster access with quality for money(even if it is 10kobo)

    1. I use the Swift internet, its not the kind of 4G you see abroad but its ok.
      The best internet in Nigeria (that are affordable) hovers around Swift Networks, Multilinks and Starcomms

      But before yo buy any internet make sure they have service in your area.

  15. Sometimes you wonder if these operators are truly professionals. It is a serious problem in this country, where mediocres act as professionals, what do you expect. i actually took my time to go through their website, apart from the poor outlook and navigation system, having over 25 plans for internet solutions is insane and outright stupidity.
    There you will find speed, time, and data caps running simultaneously.
    For once can we do what is right???

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