No; we are not being sensational. We have actually held back from writing about this, but for several weeks now, we have been getting better speeds over…

Glo EDGE outruns MTN 3.5G

mtn glo2No; we are not being sensational. We have actually held back from writing about this, but for several weeks now, we have been getting better speeds over Glo’s GPRS/EDGE network than MTN’s 3.5G connection delivers – on the average.


Yes; there are times that the MTN 3.5G network wakes up and delivers, but it has been the exception for weeks. Meanwhile Glo GPRS/EDGE delivers between 20 kbps and 60 kbps, in comparison with the sub 10 kbps speeds we more often get on MTN 3.5G at our end here.

Sad; isn’t it? Isn’t it absurd that a network would spend billions of naira to invest in 3.5G infrastructure without developing the backend capacity to deliver 3.5G speeds?


It is obvious that the bandwidth at the disposal of MTN is not up to scratch to meet the demands of subscribers on the network. We are told by an informed source that the Glo-1 submarine cable went live a few weeks back. Perhaps that accounts for the good experience on the Glo network at the moment.

Any subscribers to Glo 3.5G out there who can comment on the kind of speeds they are getting on Glo 3.5G?

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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.

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This Post Has 50 Comments

  1. I’ve been on etisalat edge for some months and I am yet to have complains. I hope glo will also introduce a 100/130 mb bundle just like zain and etisalat in this new year then I can try GLO data Service and I can then coment. Glo has been my first line since the network was launched.

  2. @Kay123, you took the letters right off my fingertips!

    I have been exclusively staying with Zain (data wise) only because they have the N1000/100megabytes data plan. If Mtn and Glo will bring out sometin similar (or better) and the Etisalat data-only SIM restriction is eradicated, we will be truly free to ‘roam’ & experiment (data-wise) on the 4 gsm networks.

    As a sideline, I prefer network data stability and consistency to unsustained ‘flash-in-the-pan’ bursts of speed…

  3. av bin on mtn 3.5G network and the speed seems ok to me…even wen making video calls…guess it’s the kind of handset u use that determines what speed u get…(just my opinion)

  4. Am a glo subscriber and have mtn, zain and etisalat lines as well. I’ve used mtn, glo & etisalat voice sims to connect my pc to the net. what i discovered is that etisalat is faster . am in yola.

  5. Bats2000ng,

    You said:

    guess it’s the kind of handset u use that determines what speed u get…(just my opinion)

    The above comment deserves to be awarded the most amusing statement ever directed at the Mobility Nigeria team. Ahem, …we are talking about a bunch of guys who are among the most knowledgeable about mobile phones and technology in the country 🙂

    Be rest assured that we are using the most capable terminal equipment (and quite a variety too) with our MTN 3.5G connection, and still getting less than 10 kbps on the average 😉


    The Guys from Alireta, publishers Mobility Nigeria

  6. Think it’s about this site’s administrators start adding the share button (for d benefit of we mobile web users).

    The postings are too informative not to be shared…

  7. glo 3g where i am is the fastest. I get 400 – 600kbps regularly. I sometimes get burst of up to 1.6mbps. You tube, Skype and downloads are ok.

    Whenever they get into their tantrum and lose 3g (which happens often and lasts for about 2 – 3 mins), GPRS is so painfully slow at 20 – 30kbps.

  8. Yeah it does…but i’ve got friends on facebook that are going to fall in love with your postings/fone deals; therefore try work on the facebook share button.

    Keep the infos coming! Thanks.

  9. I use the Glo 3G plus and I’m highly disgusted with it. I’ve not been able to access the internet for the past 2 days. I get good signals; but when I click ‘connect’, it brings out a message that says “Error 619: A connection to the remote computer could not be established, so the port used for this connection was closed”.

    This is not the first time this is happening. I just paid N15,000 for the 300 hours plan on christmas day and it’s messing up. I tried calling their customer care and I was on hold for over 25 mins. without being able to talk to a customer care representative.

    Can some one please recommend a VERY reliable service for me? Cause I’m getting sick and tired of this Glo.

  10. Seun,

    Sorry to hear about your experience.

    Unfortunately, it is next to impossible to recommend a “VERY reliable service” when it comes to internet access in Nigeria. Often, an ISP that is problematic at one time and location may deliver commendable service at another time and place (see an older article, Sub-standard Internet Service Delivery in Nigeria).

    It is sad; yes. Very.

    We must mention that we have had the same experience with Glo’s modem at our end here a couple of times. We would often get that same error message when trying to connect, but when we switch the SIM card into one of the available phones at the office for use as a modem with a PC, we would get a connection without problems.

    We are beginning to suspect that perhaps some of Glo’s modems are faulty.

  11. Thanx a billion for you response. Please what kind of phone can I use as a modem? Please kindly recommend on this…may be that will be the way out for me.

  12. Seun,

    Most phones above N15,000 today have modem functionality built-in. Too wide a range to list here. If there are one or two phones you have an interest in, you can mention them and we’ll confirmwhether or not they qualify.


  13. 400-600kbps now thats fast..i can’t really complain about my mtn speeds it’s fast than the kobranet broadband i use at home, which averages 25-37kbps at it’s fastest when downloading, whilst my mtn on my phone peaks at 170kbps and averages 30kbps whilst downloading on 3.5G. i have left my casual browsing to my computer and downloads to my cellphone,

  14. I’m currently using zain and it does about 20kb per sec. The best ISP differs with area. I want to go to glo because i heard that its the best in abuja. So to determine an ISP, try getting advice from someone geographically close to you.

  15. @ seun

    make sure that your modem has some money in it. I had a similar problem sometime ago, i was frustrated till i realized that if there is no money in the modem it wouldn’t connect. load like N100 and make sure that u select GLO 3G PLUS (PREPAID). Hope this helps.

  16. among the 3G operators we have in Nigeria, MTN still offers the fastest download speed. i have tried glo 3G Plus, Zain and MTN in Lagos, Aba, Onitsha, Benin and Portharcourt.

    MTN is the best. of course it has it’s downtime sometimes just like the others. glo just started deploying EDGE. to say that glo’s EDGE is faster than MTN 3.5G is in fact exaggeration, and misleading.

  17. Alireta,

    Do you know the data limit for mtn prepaid blackberry? i read on a website that one only need to load N5,000 and then send a text ‘BIS’ to 21600 and it is activated within 24hrs for a 30 day span.

    i like to know if there are daily plans and also if it can work on android phones. i currently use mtn night bundle and glo prepaid 3g day flexi bundle on my phone but i always have to swap sims and i am not very comfortable doing so.

  18. @seun

    i have also experienced the same problem with my glo even when i still had some credit left on d line.

    but i think i,ve discovered a simple solution.

    after subscribing to a plan of your choice, wait for about 15mins n topup the line with a N100 recharge card, u should be able to start browsing, just make sure you are using the gloflat APN.

    i use a phone as modem, but i guess the same trick should work with their usb modem

  19. Mahogany,

    You said:

    to say that glo’s EDGE is faster than MTN 3.5G is in fact exaggeration, and misleading.

    So you say. Actually, the only exaggeration we did was ascribe the faster Glo speeds to EDGE. In reality,we get EDGE on Glo only now and then.

    The truth is that it is Glo GPRS (not even EDGE) that has consistently delivered faster speeds than MTN 3.5G at our end. That has been our regular experience. And that is something for MTN to worry about. If it bothers you, get in touch with MTN. But it is just tasteless of you to accuse us of exaggerating, misinforming and misleading people.

    Our daily experience is that the only time MTN 3.5G delivers anything that looks close to 3G speeds is between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m. when we find little use for the connection.

    By the way, if you read the article well, we did not say, as you claim, that Glo’s EDGE is faster than MTN 3.5G. We reported our experience – and if you re-read, you’ll notice that we asked others to tell us about their experiences. Can you re-read please?

  20. Adisa,

    We do not have detailed information on MTN’s Blackberry services at this time. You may need to call the MTN customer care line.


  21. well as i mentioned before i have tried them all. MTN 3G delivers speeds above 100kB/s and sometimes peaking beyond 250KB/s regardless of time of day.

    with glo 3G Plus i never achieve speeds beyond 10KB/s; at that level Starcomms 1X is even better. this is my own experience. personally over the years i have learned to trust Starcomms for reliable internet connection. my job requires me to be online always.

  22. Mahogany,

    That’s more like it. Thanks for sharing your experience with the community. You see, someone else too could easilly claim that you are being untruthful about never having exceeded 10kbps on Glo 3G Plus, but its your experience – and very valid. It is Glo’s problem; not anyone else’s.

    Keep posting. Cheers.

  23. My 3GB night browsing bandwidth with Glo finished just last week and I haven’t been quite eager to renew it yet as it was quite erratic in the last few days. hey were probably having DNS issues. I’ll probably renew it when I’ve got loads of videos to download. Etisalat’s 500MB offer is working just fine for me @ the moment and I really can’t complain cos they do deliver.

    MTN on the other hand has chopped my N2,500 allowing me to download only 1GB due to weeks long connection problems. I’ve been so pissed that I wish I could join my lil brother (who’s a free browsing expert) and crash them with free browsing. What irks me the most is that they are still advertising their internet services despite the fact that it sucks big time and NCC is doing absolutely nothing about it.

    Is excellent product delivery too much to ask for in this country?

    A bill needs to be passed that makes sure that all bandwidth purchased from naija telecom guys would have no time limit. That way one can be sure to use up the bandwidth he/she paid for should in case their services go down for half the billed month. On the other hand, the monthly billing plan can continue if they find a way of compensating their subscribers.

    So much for civilization and democracy. We are so far from it in this country.

  24. @seun
    I understand your anger, our data and gsm operators are really disgusting. Your Nokia 3110c will do just fine, but make sure you put the APN: gloflat, oth on your phone and pc suite when you connect and do not forget to have at least N100 credit before you connect. I use a Nokia N70 though. You can still try out Etisalat and compare the two.

    You guys are cool, this is the post I have been waiting for. First thing this morning I will subscribe for G-Leisure. I was quite scared because of complaints I heard about glo since November, so I stuck to Etisalat which has been wonderful and I never had a cause to complain since I started using them in November. My etisalat bundle will run out next monday. The little problem with etisalat is that their bundles are a bit on the expensive side, but they are very reliable to me though. I think if they introduce night packages with fairly good prrice I will permanent them.
    Hope Glo will put their acts together. Please guys how do I access my data bundle with gloflt?

    @ Alireta
    I think you can improve your forum by adding a board for computers, programmers, Webmasters, Wapmasters, Auctions,and even politics. I bet you the sheer traffic to your site will put your servers into big trouble of over flooded traffic. Your site is too informative for constuctive minds to be left out. We are tired of useless forums e.g Nairaland.

  25. @Raymond: Even with just N10 on your phone you can still browse using gloflat. The goal is not having zero balance @ the time of trying to connect. I think Yomi has mentioned that somewhere before and I’ve experienced it too.

  26. i have a prepaid SIM i use solely for glo’s 3G plus. i connect to the internet with zero airtime balance.

  27. hello all,

    i want the opinion of the forum on an issue i have. I have a HTC G1 phone and I am on MTN’s post paid service. The G1 needs to be online always in other for me to enjoy its range of features. However, I get a paltry 500KB data allowance on my current plan. I asked MTN’s reps and i was told there was no data plan available for their post-paid service unless i do the pay-as-you-go at 15k/KB after i’ve exhausted the 500KB allowance.

    However, i am aware post-paid subscribers to the Blackberry services pay N5000/mth for the service, have internet access and get a data allowance of 1GB. So i inquired at an MTN friendship center if it was possible for me to subscribe to the N5000/mth service and use my use the internet connection on my fone, while ignoring blackberry services. She told me i would get placed on the ”Blackberry service’ and my phone ( which normally should be a Blackberry) would have configurations sent to it. She was not sure if i would be able to get internet service even with MTN data service configuration setting done on my phone.

    So, do u think if i subscribe to this service i would have my desired internet connection, or is the Blackberry Service a “Walled Garden”?

  28. Tai,

    It really depends on how the Blackberry Internet Service (BIS) is configured to work by the network. For example, you can ask the guys at MTN if the APN, username and password for Blackberry users is different from the regular users. If it is different, simply ask them to give you the details so you can enter them in manually.

    It is also possible that the BIS is also configured such that unless the service is active on your phone, you can’t use MTN’s internet. If this is the case, it simply won’t work on your G1.

    Perhaps its worth the experiment, if you can afford to lose N5,000. If it doesn’t work, you can always cancel after the first month, or get one of those shiny new Blackberries.

    Cheers 😉

  29. Tai,

    More information for you:

    Actually, the Blackberry plan works fine on any smartphone. It’s the same data plan, but allows access to the Blackberry APN / BIS. There’s a great FAQ over in the Rogers section of HowardForums that answers this.

    I bought the BB plan using my 8310 as the registered device, then switched the sim card into my iphone and data worked. Also received my last months bill there were no extra charges.

    While the above quoted statements may be specific to the poster’s network, at least it tells us that the very idea of using BIS on a non-Blackberry device is feasible.

    Source: Question about Blackberry Internet Service (BIS)

  30. So far so good my MTN 3G has been me God like speeds i could only dead serious here..maybe cos am in a true 3G area…It all depends on what part of the country you are to enable you enjoy the bounty of the 3G bandwidth speed .My people the speed is sensational…..No complains yet with ma MTN 3G service

  31. Most Nigeria internet network are seriously location dependent. But it seems Etisalat is an exception, Nobody and even myself has ever complained of Etisalat. To even see the fact that they are only on EDGE keep amazing me.

    My current data bundle with Etisalat will expire tomorrow and I will be switching over to Glo’s g-leisure. It has been very wonderful and fulfiling these last two months using Etisalat, I only and truly wish Glo will continue to make me happy since I am only switching because of the 3GB offer for G-Leisure which cost N5000, compared to Etisalat 500MB for N3000.

    To imagine I wasted 5 good months using MTN, I always use the night bundle of N2500 (3GB) and anytime I exceed 1Gb the network will never connect or will go very bad till the end of the month. I will never use Mtn again even if I am given a free data bundle.

    My advise to any serious internet user “STAY AWAY FROM MTN DATA SERVICES”

  32. @Raymond: Looks like a lot of people are having that same problem with MTN’s night browsing. After 1GB of usage the useless network shuts you out. Still nobody in Consumer Protection is doing jack and I’m sure complaints have been forwarded to them.

    Etisalat is my saviour at the moment as Glo has been having issues lately which makes me wonder how far with their GLO-1 hype. Is it over so soon? I thought it was a problem with my modem and G-Leisure subscription so I tried browsing on my phone with my other glo line and still the same problem.

    Hopefully Etisalat will maintain their 100% reliability for now. I guess if they introduce cheaper plans, their network will get congested and start experiencing problems too.

  33. Summarily, MTN’s internet service is bullshit…. everywhere you go. 🙂

    If you really want enjoy internet service in naija, use the CDMA companies where the mode of payment is actually stressful and more secured. The cheat code peddlers and users will always overwhelm any GSM network that has good internet service and then it will get frustrating for users

  34. Ahem, I forgot to mention.

    For web guys like me, important ports such as FTP and SSH are either blocked or unstable on the GSM networks because these are the major ports through which free browsing software (e.g. Your Freedom) connects to proxy servers.

  35. drixie,

    Good point you raised about CDMA vs GSM with regards free browsing hacks. Yet, our past experience with CDMA internet services were traumatic – in particular Starcomms and Multilinks. But that was years ago. We are still wary though.

    We have had an average experience with Zoom (then Reltel), but we are generally a little uneasy with CDMA mobile internet.

    Can you share your experiences for our benefit and that of others? Thanks.

  36. @Drixie: I love that pun. (MTN’s internet service is bullshit…. everywhere you go). LMAO.

    Thanks for shedding light on this FTP issue cos I have asked around and couldn’t find a solution which is why I subscribed to Etisalat cos it appears GLO has those ports blocked.

    Epileptic MTN and Etisalat are the only networks that allow me work on my blog with ease. I will be contacting my web host to see if there’s a way around this.

  37. Hello to everyone in the house,
    Please, I need advice on which gsm data service to subscribe to in apapa area. I have been using IPNX modem at home and it is fast(about 50kbps constant download speed) however, I need a mobile device since my ipnx modem is bulky.

  38. Help! glo has gone AWOL. I have had good experience with glo with speeds of 400 -600kbps in the past two months. I am afraid the honeymoon is over before it went to any significant length. Speeds are less than 5kbps. It takes forever to open even normally fast and lean sites like Its ssoooooooo frustrating. MTN 3.5G has just activated its service around my corner of Abuja. The speeds are good sometimes although very patchy. just got 1.02mbps this evening. Yesterday it was not even connecting!

    Glo is a big disappointed. All this hype about Glo1 landing in Lagos was over blown. Main one also landed its cable in Lagos but better managed the event. They told us their service will be up and running in June 2010. Glo made theirs sounds as though the cable landing was Nigeria’s digital nirvana. This is definitely not the case.

    Why are efficient services in Nigeria so difficult to come by? Even when the will and resources are there. Are we jinxed as a Nation?

  39. Eye bee kay: kindly recomend to me a mobile browser that I can use on a zain data bundle.

    Opera mini is out of the equation. My problem with UC web 7 is that i can’t open gmail basic html view. also nairaland displays only wap version.

    I’ll prefer a browser that has multi tab, copy and paste features. Compression is also key.

    I downloaded sky fire but it dosent connect to network. Bolt and Bolt lite works well but it has less features. The buts are:

    1) it takes time to load pages and
    2) i find it dificult to access some web pages such as gmail basic html view and web page. I tried different ways to access these views but i end up opening only wap/mobile page.

    Please advise me on how to find my around these problems or just recomend another mobile browser that will meet my needs.

    I use a nokia e63. Compression, multi-tab, access to wap and web pages, copy and paste are key to me.

  40. The reviews made here are all quite the same. In my opinion,what counts is location I.e one’s proximity to masts that have 3g or edge services embedded in them. You,the mast installations are handled by differnt companies and varying programming.

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