I have tried out almost all data plans from the four major GSM network operators in Nigeria. Collectively, I call them GAME (Glo, Airtel, MTN

Is MTN Nigeria's Internet Service Getting Better?

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I have tried out almost all data plans from the four major GSM network operators in Nigeria. Collectively, I call them GAME (Glo, Airtel, MTN and Etisalat). Till now, MTN has always been top contender for the poorest quality of service of the lot. As a matter of fact, at a certain time whenever I subscribed to an MTN data plan, the only time that it was usable was in the night. By night, I mean from midnight. So, colour me surprised when yesterday I decided to forget my horrible memories with them and gave them another try, and found myself enjoying good internet service.

I subscribed to a test data plan of 2 hours as suggested in my earlier post titled What To Do Before Subscribing To A Data Plan. Visiting a few websites, I noticed how fast webpages loaded, and I was very surprised. This was around 2 PM. There was no epileptic speed and performance, as I had come to expect from MTN Nigeria’s legendarily horrible data service.

Today I have subscribed to the two hour plan again to test if yesterday’s speed was just a fluke. I am still amazed by the speeds that I am experiencing. This is in contrast to current internet service on my dear Etisalat, which has degraded into something that is only usable around midnight. EasySnail anyone?

Here is the Speedtest result of my current speed on MTN’s data plan

mtn speedtest result

As you can see from the result above that it is pretty impressive. Can anything good come out of Nazareth? This however is just my own experience, do share yours in the comments below.


  1. Most times its location dependent.
    A while back when people were complaining about MTN, I had HSPA+ with decent speeds.
    But I haven’t used MTN for a while now and I’m not willing to unless there’s a nationwide consensus that services are better. Etisalat is quickly going the way of MTN.

  2. I think it was a fluke my dear. MTN is horrible maybe the network is overloaded and conjested.
    On the other hand its also area dependant but I have been enjoying me Etisalat, the speed is second to none in this country, It could be epileptic sometimes though but not to be compared to MTN worst state.

  3. the words that come to my mind whenever we discuss data connectivity include:


    I am sure these would apply to all the network depending on “where” you are, and “when” you are talking about.

    But AirTel is still surprising me with its consistency, for months, in my neck of forests!

  4. Mtn maybe grateful you have subscribed to a plan after months of neglect, so see it as a welcome back package. Do not be drawn into their trap. you will end up abused.

  5. I use MTN as my primary network provider for my BIS and it’s quite good. At the time I used etisalat, I considered it the best, but had to dump the sim since I never got a network reception once I got home.

    To my surprise, I stream videos on my BlackBerry Playbook without the annoying buffering while bridging it with my BB 9360. Well, many are of the opinion that location plays a key factor in QOS. I wouldn’t know for sure as I don’t know how close I am to a base station whenever I’m on the network.

    Dump M, but how sure are you that you’ll get a better deal with GAE (M omitted)?

  6. Hmmmm, i am actually going through a rough patch with these networks. To think i almost threw away my Airtel SIM this afternoon out of frustration!! Honestly MTN somehow manages to beat all these networks in consistency. Of course that is because they are everywhere you go but their plan is a no no for me. Etisalat happens to be the fastest but the downright downtime they have is quite heartbreaking. Airtel? Forget it!!! They haven’t started the biz yet. I just took out my Airtel SIM and tossed the Etisalat back. I rather have a a whole day downtime but fast when it comes up than having a snail crawl all week long!!!

  7. @Emma Friday – Two days now and i’m still enjoying super fast internet. If it is a fluke then it is a very nice fluke.
    @Emma Edeh – LoL, it may be appreciation from them that i finally subscribed.
    @Chyka – I have never really been an MTN person so i cannot comment on the consistency MTN is said to have.
    @Ayodele – I am very surprised too.

  8. yes,mtn has been very fast for d past 2days now even surpassing etisalat….for speed in my area….1-glo 200mb can finish in 4min 2-mtn-very fast currently 3—etisalat–200mb can finish in 25min airtel—very unstable in speed some times faster than etisalat most times the slowest like 200mb when slow can last more than 5h downloading,all on 3g

  9. I decided to use my mtn sim on my note2 since October. the experience hasnt been anything as noted in this article. its not completely bad, but can be very frustrating. I just decided to suffer all the consequences of using the sim on my phone. the mtn number is my main line and would rather enjoy all the added festures that comes with call functions on the phone.

    though I get better connection is some location like on the island. but its terrible at home in Surulere. the reason I went for swift4g at home.

  10. About Airtel being snail speed, Chyka, it’s rather unfortunate. It’s my primary line and I have decent network at home when power fails and I can’t use my home wifi. Different strokes for different folks.

    MTN!!!? Hmm! I’ve never subscribed to them since August 2011. My first line is an MTN with a very sweet number. First, I demoted it from being my first, then I stopped using data on it, now, it’s just a sim I kick around phones for experimentation.

    Airtel rules for me. Booyah!!!

  11. In the last 3-4 months… Airtel all the way. I stopped using mtn may or june i think.. Switched to etisalat. Now on airtel

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