In the first part of this Lagos-Zaria adventure series, I gave information about the mobile gadgets that I took along for the trip. In this

Lagos to Zaria by road, with 2 phones and 3 SIMs – Part 2

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In the first part of this Lagos-Zaria adventure series, I gave information about the mobile gadgets that I took along for the trip.

In this second part, I will give account of our experiences with the various mobile networks during our trip.

All along the route, MTN mobile internet was available for the most part, but apart from voice calls and SMS, it was a complete disappointment. We were unable to do anything that required internet access with it. It was Glo GPRS/EDGE that saved the day.

Courtesy of Glo, Dayo was able to moderate comments on Mobility blog all through our ten and half hour drive from Lagos to Abuja. Of course, after Ibadan, we had to make do with just GSM/EDGE all the way to Abuja.

We got 3.5G service on both Glo and MTN back on arrival in the Federal Capital Territory, but in Zaria, especially Ahmadu Bello University where we operated from, getting a stable signal on almost any GSM network was next to mission impossible. At Abuja, both networks delivered fast internet access at our University of Abuja, Gwagwalada location.

By the way, we decided that there was a need to polish up the name from Gwagwalada to “Gwags” or “G-lada”. “Gwagwalada” was just too much of a mouthful for our refined lips. Which is your preference?

kaduna zaria road

Along Kaduna-Zaria Road

We did not get a 3G signal on any network during our stay at ABU Zaria. Etisalat was the most stable for mobile internet, and I had to replace my MTN SIM with one from that network.

Dayo, who took along only a phone with his MTN SIM could access the internet only while we were at Abuja. Before and after that, he was one frustrated mobile traveler for the most part.

Of course, we were able to make and receive calls all through the trip as long as there was a signal. However, again, the ABU Zaria area was just terrible, as we experienced dropped calls again and again.

Our return trip was a straight drive from Zaria through Jebba to Lagos. Glo GPRS/EDGE served us well, though there wasn’t always a signal. There were times we lost the Glo signal but MTN was live and well.

Of course, our trip was not a scientific experiment, so we must have missed out a number of things. We were not looking at the devices for a signal every single moment. I am just sharing in general our observations.

camels return trip1
Camels shared the road with us in Niger state, Northern Nigeria!

Because our return journey was a stretch and on an older road, we did less observing, and did more of avoiding craters, potholes and articulated vehicles almost all the way from Zaria to Lagos.

Up Next
How did we find our way through the 800 kilometres to the north and back? Enter: Ovi Maps – plus some streak of wild adventurism!


  1. Good one there yomi&Dayo. Nice adventure.

    Ovi maps is a really nice app. Much better than google maps, if you ask me.

    It’s just surprising that in a large tertiary institution like ABU Zaria, none of the networks have thought it wise to improve their services there and also commence 3G. A shame to also our networks.

  2. This one that Yomi is only mentioning Ovi maps, i hope its not only Ovi maps that you tried oo. That was a rear opportunity for you to have given us a detailed performance of at least 3-4 different Map applications and accuracy on different OSs. I am a student of GIS, and will really be interested in knowing how each type fared.

  3. Wild adventure indeed.

    I remember being in Zaria over two years ago. The MTN EDGE was simply unusable. I assumed the MTN cell site serving ABU area was faulty. MTN EDGE was a bit better in other parts of Zaria. Not being one to carry multiple SIMs, I had to use a noisy cyber cafe and endured a nasty headache from your thundering power generator.

  4. I believe we re gettin dere sha…generally over the last one year. Data services hate really improved. Probably due to the new main one cable. Who knows

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