I held out for as long as possible, hoping against hope that Zain Nigeria would have a re-think about some of their services. No; I

Goodbye, Zain

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I held out for as long as possible, hoping against hope that Zain Nigeria would have a re-think about some of their services.

No; I wasn’t asking for too much. I only needed stable mobile internet services. Because this is 2009, I also wanted that internet connection to be high speed. GPRS is good. EDGE is faster. 3G is not bad. But in 2009, anything short of a 3.5G connection does not qualify as high speed.

Recently, a Zain official confirmed to me that 3G and 3.5G are available (officially) only on post-paid SIMs. He spent time trying to convince me to migrate my line to a contract package. But I know better. I’ve had my fingers burnt on contracts a couple of times. I know others who have too.

But I was willing to stay with Zain on their pre-paid platform. You see I have high-speed internet connection at the office and at home, so I could tolerate GPRS or EDGE when out and about.

Then suddenly, Zain internet went bunkers. Tolerating GPRS/EDGE was one thing. Tolerating GPRS/EDGE that was not working was… well… you get the picture.

‘Dayo and others who know me well have been wondering why I have stayed with Zain this long. They know I normally have no qualms changing my line. It baffles them. It sort of baffles me too.

I finally gave in this morning. I just could not bear it any longer. I got myself a SIM from another network. When I popped in the new SIM, 3G/3.5G internet was ready and waiting. My Xperia X1 simply connected on schedule to download my mails. What bliss!

I am sure that Zain works for some people – perhaps people who want nothing than just voice and SMS; people who are not so into mobile internet; and people who do not need a high speed connection.

Mobile internet is primary on my list. SMS follows. Voice comes last. Yes; I’m wierd. Welcome to my world.

No; I am not so naive as to think that I won’t experience any issues with the new network. In Nigeria, that is wishful thinking. But at least, whatever it is I have to tolerate, I now have high-speed internet on the go. At least when it works.


  1. Sounds like you switched to MTN.
    I’m still enduring zain’s slow GPRS/EDGE whenever its available..
    MTN’s data services is still the best, but the plans are too expensive for a student like me!!

  2. Suprise! Zain’s EGPRS found on my phone in Osun State. It seems we are getting linked also. Mr Yomi, you’ve demonstrated a great patience; as per what i read, however, i advise you dont take a complete leave. Make a ‘u’ turn from time to time.
    Please help me sort this out- 1. What is the difference between I-Phone, Smart Phone, Symbian Phone and Chinese Phones.
    2. Can you tell me why most Chinese phones (eg ITEL628) disconnect packet data connection (bluetooth) after registering on the network? Is there any solution to its connectivity. I shall appreciate your quick response.

  3. Jose,

    Zain has an active expansion programme for EDGE on their network, so that’s not much of a surprise. EDGE should be available on Zain in a widespread fashion soon.

    iPhone is a smartphone (though a rather limited one) running on OSX operating system. iPhone is manufactured by apple Inc.

    Symbian is a different mobile operating system that manufacturers like Nokia, Sony Ericsson and Samsung use on their smartphones.

    By definition, a smartphone is a phone that runs an operating system and on which native applications (apps written for that particular operatinmg system) can be installed by the user.

    “Chinese phones” or “China phones” are mostly clones (copies) of original phones by other manufacturers. For example, there are Chinese clones of iPhone and of Nokia phones.

    I am not sure why those Chinese phones do that, but I can hazard a few guesses – faulty BT and/or PC drivers, substandard development, etc.

    I always advice that those interested in connectivity that they stay away from China phones. At least for now.

  4. I feel your pain, man , I really do.

    I have been a devoted Zain postpaid user for almost 5 years now – but of late, even I have grown weary of Zain’s epileptic GPRS service, terrible blackberry support and that most annoying issue of wrong billing!

    The only thing keeping me hooked is the fact that over 1,000 people have my number already! If I switched to another network (which? I dislike the other options – except for starcomms, maybe) then I would either have to suffer the inevitable “unreachability” or else I would have to carry 2 phones (another serious aversion of mine).

  5. This zain mobile internet is not all that bad, it is still okay and can still be useful for most average users. why? considering the price of their modems, the charging plan, etc. But I will also suggest that anybody that is keen on making heavy use of Internet can try other networks with better speed.

  6. zain mobile internet remains the cheapest. I’ve been using zain lite for about 2 months and i can only say it’s slow on d pc but it is very good on d phone.

  7. Sometimes in August, I took my iPhone to one of the Zain shops to have it provisioned for internet. I used it up till September 4th when I travelled to England. In England, I popped in my T-mobile SIM and was automatically configured for a 5-day free internet browsing without visiting any T-mobile shop. It was fantastic and needful too as I was able to use the MAP feature to locate places I needed to visit.

    Now when I returned, I subscribed to a 24 hour bundle in error instead of the usual one month and I am thankful for that error because my phone promptly gave the error that my phone was not subscribed for cellular data! Up till now, I am not able to browse on the iPhone, thankfully I was able to switch my SIM to my Nokia E61i and was able to use up the bundle I purchased.

    I guess ZAIN expects me to come back to re-configure the phone because when I called customer service, the person I spoke to believes that I must have ‘fiddled’ with the settings. Please! you don’t even need any settings to use EDGE which was obviously what my iPhone was provsioned for. Meanwhile, when I pop in my MTN, it works perfectly.

  8. yes zain is not all that bad. especially on phone.please i would like to know how to download mails to my phone. using zain thanks.

  9. @Yomi, I finally went to one of the Zain shops to re-enable my iPhone for internet and it now works on my subscribed bundle. I have now learnt that all I needed was to supply the APN information without username and password.

    One thing worried me recently though. I discovered that my Facebook app does not connect when I am using Zain internet. I tried launching through Safari and got the error message that the server is not responding. I switched from 3G to my home wireless network and both the App and Safari connected to Facebook.

    Are you aware of the fact that Facebook is blocked on Zain? If so, what reason(s) could you adduce for this move?

  10. Steve,

    I tried to load Facebook on a Zain connection today too and failed as well. I cannot speak for them, but I do know that if certain unwanted activities originate from an IP, the server firewall can block that IP automatically. In this case, that would be Facebook blocking Zain!

    I doubt that Zain would intentionally block Facebook – unless, of course, the free browsing hunters have found a way to circumvent network billing on Zain via Facebook

  11. hi steve/yomi, i read ur post of october 9th, i use an iphone 3.0 3g, can u please tell me the APN u used for your zain internet. Can i do the configuration myself or do i have to go to a zain shop to enable it?

  12. Josephine, first your line must have been provisioned for Internet, secondly you need to subscribe to a specific data bundle. Finally you add the following to your APN; internet.ng.zain.com. Enable Edge/3G and you should be able to browse.

  13. Steve/Yomi

    Thanks for the Forum. Please keep it up. I was wondering has there been a post on how to configure your blackberry as a modem in order to browse the internet on my laptop. If not please help explain how.


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