Etisalat’s Uncompetitive Mobile Internet Tariff

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Etisalat’s mobile internet tariff leaves me perplexed. The new entrant has announced a tariff of 35 kobo per kb for subscribers who choose to use its EDGE-based data service. Modern EDGE networks deliver a maximum speed of 384kbps (same as 3G networks).

This is however a far cry from the 3.6mbps to 7.2mbps that 3.5G (HSDPA) networks offer. Both MTN and GloMobile have had 3.5G services running for months now, and their tariffs are much lower.

For example, it is difficult for me (and others on the MobiNaija team) to understand why anyone needing mobile internet would forego, say, MTN’s wider coverage, better speeds, and lower tariffs for what Etisalat has announced.

I recommended the Etisalat package to someone needing EDGE service (he has an EDGE-enabled smart device). But when I mentioned the tariff, he simply dropped the idea. According to him, he is already getting EDGE speeds (though shaky) on his present network and wondered why he should take on more expenses (over 100% extra) by switching to Etisalat’s service.

In his opinion (and mine too), this is a blunder by the guys at Etisalat. Nigeria is fast transiting from a voice-driven economy to a data-driven one. And the new entrant has simply locked itself out of this vast market.

I’ll be picking up my reserved Etisalat SIM in the coming week, but unless Etisalat does a volte face and drops its tariff to something below 15 kobo per kb, I doubt that it will see much action besides being used occassionally for running tests and carrying out reviews of services on the Etisalat network. I’m much more comfortable with the much lower data tariffs and much faster speeds on my present mobile internet service, thank you.