I have had the opportunity to use 4G LTE on three of the four mobile networks in Nigeria. Those networks are: Glo, Etisalat, and MTN. As Airtel Nigeria is yet to deploy, I am unable to include them in this story. Note also that this comparison is an account of my personal experiences. As we all know, experiences vary from one location to another. Come along with me as I share my experiences with 4G LTE on Nigeria’s mobile networks.
My Experiences with 4G LTE on Etisalat, Glo and MTN
In this tests, I have carried smartphones with the 4G-enabled SIM cards of each of the named networks around and checked and double-checked for coverage. Where coverage exist, I ran speed tests using OOKLA’s service.
Etisalat 4G LTE
Etisalat’s 4G network is the newest of the lot. It is also the least impressive from my usage. In terms of speed, it is the slowest. I get an average of 11 Mbps on the network. It doesn’t have coverage that’s as extensive as the others either.
Glo 4G LTE
Glo 4G LTE has been the fastest of the lot for me. I get an average of 30 Mbps on Glo 4G LTE. Coverage isn’t impressive though, and only marginally better than what I have experienced with Etisalat 4G.
MTN 4G LTE
In terms of speed, I rate it in 2nd place among the three. On the average, I get 16 Mbps download speeds.
As far as I can tell, MTN has the widest 4G LTE coverage in Lagos – and perhaps nationwide as well. At locations that Etisalat and Glo 4G coverage does not exist yet, I get solid MTN 4G network. From Ikeja to Yaba to Victoria Island to Apapa to Somolu to Ojodu to OPIC and more, my experience is that MTN 4G coverage is second to none.
MTN 4G has a flaw though: it seems to have IP issues with Google services. When I try to load Google.com, it often takes ages to resolve and load. Same thing happens often when I need to update apps from Google Play: a long delay before the updates run. Using a VPN app like Opera VPN or Rocket VPN helps side step the issue, but I know to do that because I am a techie. Regular mobile users will get stuck. MTN needs to fix this.
The above have been my experiences with 4G LTE on the three available mobile networks in Nigeria at the moment.
The various operators are still in early stage deployment of their 4G LTE networks, so there is room for lots of things to change. I am also looking forward to seeing what Airtel has to offer. Already, there have been a few reports of sightings of Airtel 4G here and there.
For my personal use, MTN 4G has got me well covered. On the other hand, we settled for Glo 4G at the office. Between the two of them, I get by with good mobile broadband speeds. What have been your experiences with 4G LTE on the various mobile networks?