The last one week in the Nigerian mobile internet arena has been hell on earth. Actually, the last one week for internet subscribers in general

Mobile Internet and SAT3 Woes

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The last one week in the Nigerian mobile internet arena has been hell on earth. Actually, the last one week for internet subscribers in general in Nigeria has been that.

Since the problem with SAT3 cropped up recently, the huge majority of internet subscribers have had to contend with choppy, unreliable connections (and disconnections).

Since most ISPs depend on the SAT3 submarine cable for connectivity, it is no surprise that we have stayed offline more than online since the cable woes hit.

This brings to mind the fact that we still have a long way to go in this country.

How can it be that in 2009 a country of 140 million people largely depends on one channel for internet access? Why?

Oh, we can also ask, Why is it that this same country has depended on one cash-cow for decades – crude oil? Why?

What is happeneing with Globacom’s submarine cable?

Why is it that MTN, Zain, Glo, and Etisalat are adding legions of subscribers year after year and smiling to the bank, while Mtel has lost almost every single subscriber on its network (if it still has a network)? Why?

Why is NITEL – Mtel’s parent company moribund? Why? Why is it up for sale again (after several such sales efforts in the past)?

We must not forget the almighty question – Why is it that we spend more infinitely time in darkness than with our light bulbs on?

It is amazing that Nigeria exists at all. Unfortuately, it is looking like we will continue to ask these questions for a long time to come.


  1. At a point, I actually thought the guys at Reltel (now ZoomMobile) were out to dupe me after having paid for subscription, which was active for just one day.

  2. That’s what one gets for overrelying on technology. – almost synoymous to putting one’s life on the internet. 😈
    Right now if someone were to come up with an idea to use native technologies to alleviate the problem, i’m sure most people would fall back to that. It’s sad that a large percentage of a country’s internet connection seems to be tied to one satellite. 🙄

  3. So in short: MTN, Zain, Glo, and Etisalat, all the other mobile operators, etc have pretty much useless internet service now. So even if one wanted to use his/her mobile as an alternative access point ;that’s a no-no ?

    That’s just sad ! 🙁 It seems a nigerian will have to come up with an idea of building a “local internet within” the country. i.e. If Nigerians can’t get to the outside world via SAT3; then they should another one within the country – one not tied to access points and strings of the satellite or any ISP. – one that harnesses mobile devices (not their global internet capabilities, but their innate,local ones) as a ‘base platform’ rather than as just a phone. – Unfortunately, with all the country’s problems.. noone seems to have free time to spend thinking outside of the box
    Like the crude oil and electricity issue, we need in nigeria: “alternatives”. How a country can function properly when the normal conventional rules are broken.,- incidence response – more or less.

  4. Yomi,
    It is rather unfortunate the kind of country we found ourselves.If not,why should a country that other african countries should be looking forwards to,be sleeping around in the 21st century with its main source of information.I mean look at how NICOM-SAT saga was trivialised.But why not?Do they want us to be informed in the first place? Perhaps if the do we would not be made to be depending on only SAT3 marine cable.Just recently,the UN stated that african countries stand to benefit immensely from the internet services ,that for every increase on the broadband speed there is going to be atleast 3% increase in terms of their economic growth.Therefore, encourage african govts to support the private internet providers to achieve there upgrades.But instead,all they sing is oil,oil !! And alas,what is the faith of the oil market now that the NISSAN automobile has announced the completion of its Electronic cars to be released to the advanced markets next year and to the general markets by 2012? OBAMA,on the other end is encouraging bio-energy to reduce american reliance on oil.Lets hope the guys in Aso rock knows what time is it…

  5. Not all providers o!etisalat’s still browsing well even wit SAT 3 down but its costly!

  6. It is unfortunate, if not downright frustrating. At least there is a connection some of the time though, even if it’s not too reliable.

  7. Zain is even more annoying. I subscribed for the zain lite package & it just stopped working without any prior announcement from zain. Now i’m back to square1 i.e recharging everytime i want to browse.

  8. kola,

    I just experienced the same thing. I am subscribed to Zain Lite, had used only 60mb of the 100mb, and had over N300.00 on my line yesterday night before retiring to bed.

    This morning, my balance is reads N0.02, and I cannot access the internet any longer. Add to that the fact that I haven’t been able to send out SMS for the last two weeks, though I have been to Zain twice to address this issue.

    I am fast growing weary of Zain. Very weary.

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