While all of you were having glasses of champagne, dancing, taking walks, or rolling in the sack with your Val on Friday evening, I was on the job getting a Smile 4G MiFi device to review. My Val cake was at home waiting for me, and my Val herself..yes; she was waiting too. Anyway, I got the pack, got finger-printed, signed the forms, and headed home at about 9.39pm.
The Smile 4G MiFi is a cute and robust unit that stands out from others in the market, but I am sure that you are not reading this to find out how nice it looks. While the Smile 4G service has not gone commercial in Lagos yet (they kicked off in Ibadan), the network is in place and active already.
By yesterday evening, my line was active. It would have been active earlier, but for some delay from my end (it was a super hectic day for me). Anyway, I charged the thing up and turned it on after activation, and voila, full bars with the 4G icon displayed. At the time, I was at the venue of the Mobility Rave party where participants had tons of fun. I drove around some parts of Lagos a bit, keeping an eye on the display, and from Ikeja to Surulere to Ojodu, it registered full bars for the most part.
At my location towards Alagbole, the signal faded away and rested between zero and one bar. Yes; that felt depressing: seeing heaven everywhere else and getting home to find out that you were on the fringes. But, hey; I am smart. What I did was place it on a cabinet, which gives me a steady one bar, and sometimes shooting up to two. The results? Much faster internet service than my Glo or Etisalat 3.5G connections at full bars.
Here is a screenshot of a Speedtest result I ran on my Lumia 1520 at 10.49pm last night:
7 Mbps was a new download record for me. But it got beaten pretty quick. Here is another test result at 6am this morning on PC:
I clocked 12.58 Mbps in download speed for the first time ever in my life! *overwhelmed and weeping* If you are reading this from South Africa, Europe or North America or Japan, excuse my tears. I know you get much better speeds. This is a breakthrough for me.
Okay, jokes aside….yes; I didn’t weep. Thank you. So, jokes aside, 12.58 Mbps is good, but still far from the theoretical maximum download speed of 37.5 Mbps that LTE promises. Perhaps in this case, being on the fringe of Smile’s 4G network and locked on to just one bar of signal is good enough to give the benefit of doubt. I will surely re-run my speed test at locations with much better reception, and at peak periods too.
This is just a first impression post. The MiFi unit seems solid and certainly looks gangster. It is too early to comment on battery life, and that will be interesting, considering that I am locked on to one bar here. First impressions are good. Web pages fly open. Downloads and updates zip. I could get used to this.
Please fire away your questions!
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.