I keep getting requests from mobile subscribers who want to know which is the best mobile internet service provider in the country. If there ever

Mo’s Best Mobile Internet Service Providers – May 2013

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I keep getting requests from mobile subscribers who want to know which is the best mobile internet service provider in the country. If there ever was a tough question, this one is it. I may not be in a position to decide which is the best in a blanket manner, but I can give you a review of my experiences with all of the mobile internet services from all four GSM networks as a guide that you can consult. I shall also expect other users to share their experiences in the comments section and hopefully you can form a fairly good picture of what to expect.

Mobile Broadband

Airtel Mobile Internet

Simply put, mobile internet service from Airtel is the worst that I have ever experienced since the inception of GSM technology in Nigeria. My very first mobile line was ECONET Wireles Nigeria, the great grandfather of today’s Airtel Nigeria. Mobile internet on ECONET was crap then too. It was crap with every single iteration, all the way from ECONET Wireless to Vodacom to Vmobile to Celtel to Zain to Airtel. It still is crap today. There was even a time that GPRS service was restricted to certain subscribers only in the days of Celtel and Zain. Madness. My wife still uses Airtel, and sometimes she does not get an IM that I send her for hours. She is unable to update apps on her smartphone most of the time. She complains about the network but it seems that she has a secret covenant with them, because she has made no attempt to change that line. Yes; it is the very same line that I started with on ECONET Wireless years ago. The juju that Baba worked between them both must be strong.

I still own two Airtel lines though for my tests and reviews here on Mobility. Till today, whether I get EDGE or 3G, internet connectivity on Airtel is mostly slow and unreliable, though there are brief periods of sanity and good performance.

MTN Mobile Internet

MTN has been mostly a problem for me. When it works, every now and then, I get that silly “Service unavailable” error that seems to cut off some websites and services while allowing the user access to some others. I don’t get it, because that scenario never happens on other mobile internet providers’ connections. But that is when it works. For the most part, MTN mobile internet has been epileptic at my end and in many places that I have used it, including during my road trips out of Lagos. I remember my last trip to Zaria by road: yes; MTN was everywhere I went (so they didn’t lie), but their mobile internet was just unusable for the most part.

Etisalat EasyBlaze

This service was once easy and blazing. Not so much any more. Now, it breaks for short periods and is no longer as fast as it used to be. EasyBlaze is a crying shame because a year ago, I predicted that this sort of thing would happen if Etisalat repeated the same thing that the other networks have done over the years. A real crying shame. It had so much potential.

Glo Bolt

Glo is by far the fastest and most reliable mobile internet service provider in my experience. Glo Bolt remains my choice. Oh; it is not faultless. For sure, it has its moments of insanity when Glo 3G service just vanishes and you are stuck till it returns, but in comparison with the others, I can almost swear (by my great grandfather’s beard, of course) that Glo comes out saintly.

There it is all laid out for you from my point of view. Glo is my de facto mobile internet provider. When it fails and I need backup, I default to Etisalat. If for any reason, that is not available, my next port of call is MTN. If that fails….to be honest, you have to be evil to wish that kind of scenario on me. Absolutely irredeemably evil. I really, really dread having to fall back on Airtel for mobile internet service.

Now, this is all based on my experience – and though I have rich experiences across a wide range of locations, you cannot make a decision strictly on my experiences. I am only one person and cannot be at all places. Many times, service quality is location dependent. I know people who live and swear by Airtel mobile internet, for example, as much as I loathe it. Over to you now. Wishing you luck in your search for fast and reliable mobile internet service.


  1. Etisalat’s eazyblaze has been the most disappointing. Once upon a time, yes it was blazing, but now just like any other regular dude on the block. I use them on my BlackBerry just because MTN I was on decided to give me a ridiculous data cap of which is unlimited on etisalat.

    Airtel like Mr Mo opined is damn useless. I wonder how people get around using that nonsense.

  2. this is my own take on this issue. beginning from the most reliable to the worst of them all:ETISALAT, GLOMOBILE, MTN and Airtel.

  3. Am using Airtel and am enjoying it. Glo has also proved reliable. MTN just sucks! I hate it. Have not tried Etisalat though.

  4. Well I love my location (Onitsha) full 3G coverage on all networks and they all work pretty well most of the time, but if it is to be rated by speed then it’s GLO, Airtel, MTN then Etisalat but they’re all fast enuf to make the choice difficult, and even in terms of reliability the ranking up there still holds.

  5. I’m in Lagos and mainly yaba to Ojota to Ketu to Gbagada. Just like Mr No, I have also used all the mobile networks. As far as data is concerned, Airtel have always sucked. It’s the worst. Glo is the best, of course, they also have their own share of insanity. Next to Glo is etisalat, while MTN is in 3rd position.
    Presently, Glo is my main data provider, I use Etisalat as backup.
    That’s my take on it

  6. I prefer to talk about my present location: Ilorin.

    -Glo is excellent all round.

    -Airtel has been good in the past week but not anywhere near as fast as Glo. Cos the BIS is cheap i use it mostly, and revert to the expensive Glo when i have serious work that needs quick uploads/downloads

    -MTN: Ive witnessed excellent MTN speeds in some places but in my house and work route it ain’t all that so i don’t use it despite the cheap cheap BIS hack these days.

    -Etisalat: My hands are full with the other 3 (Cheap BIS on Airtel and MTN and super fast speed with Glo), so haven’t used Eti yet.

  7. Number one Glo
    Number two Mtn
    Number three Airtel
    Last Etisalat. Its funny how airtel’s edge speed is more reliable than etisalat’s 3g in my area.

  8. Network speed depend on location. Some are good in some area while some sucks. I remembered when I was trying to update my playbook, then you need to download 500MB file via WIFI. Because of etisalat advert I bought into them thinking of eazy blazing I have to abandon more than 1Gig of the 1.5Gig that cost 4000. It was a painful one. It is Airtel that bail me out with there BIS 1200 for 1Gig and the 500MB came in within 45minutes.
    MTN and Glo are at per here in Awotan side behind Ibadan Polytechnic.

  9. From Lokoja and Anyigba towns, Kogi State

    1. Glo is supreme though 3.5g (download speed avg 276KB/S or 2208 Kbps)
    2. Airtel 3.75g not stable but very fast (download speed 470KB/S or 3760 Kbps)
    3. Etisalat and MTN still edge in Kogi so no mention and both stay in last
    I use Glo and Airtel intermittently. Glo is best for surfing whie airtel is best for downloads.

  10. Airtel works superbly for me with minimal issues. I get the 3G signal at my locations (church – oregun, work – VI, home – omole)
    I totally agree the EDGE is crappy but you can’t beat the 3G download speed (my experience in comparism with others).

    Airtel, etisalat, glo, mtn. That’s my Best-to-Worst ranking.

  11. Etisalat has remained my best experience so far. I was hitting over 6mbps when downloading large files and staying above 4.5 mbps for most times using Crystal Downloader for Android.

    Airtel is just about half as fast as Etisalat but a lot more stable that Glo, while Glo can be close as fast as Etisalat when working but highly unstable and that mars its usefulness. It’s been long I used MTN data services after subscribing to their night plan that gives 3 GB of data for 30 days at N2,500. The experience left a bitter taste in my mouth as I was unable to use up to 1 GB out of the plan. That is close to three years now and I’ve not tried any of their data package ever since. They are the worst in my experience.

  12. In my location, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, glo 3g redefines fast but the challenge is I don’t have network in the 2 most important places to me: home and work so that leaves Airtel which comes in so handy. Its not the fastest, but I have 3g everywhere I go.
    Etisalat doesn’t exist as far as I’m concerned. Nothing interesting about it. Mtn is crappier than crap. I had to subscribe for 1 week BIS when my airtel was having issues. Believe me, all I can do is ping, whatsapp and use opera which opens a page after a full decade. My native browser almost never works. I’m suprised I’m using it to make this comment. Downloading is impossible!

  13. I have the best experience with Visafone internet service in Lagos Visafone mobile internet is very good and has the fastest speed compared with all the GSM networks

  14. Wonderful post! I want to try this Glo Bolt, because they offer a fast and most reliable mobile internet service. I like to experience the speed of their internet connection so that someday i can choose what is the best mobile internet service. Excellent article!

  15. At gbagada (Atunrase estate), Etisalat’s Easy blaze for me was a horror movie playing out. I had to sell it to a chap who said he had excellent service around Iyana Ipaja area. The Glo modem i used briefly seemed not to work properly; would try Glo again. I’m presently using Visafone. In gbagda, i could use it to see episodes of Transformers prime, but at Ajao estate it’s just 3 bars out of 5, & excruciatingly slow. A friend uses Etisalat’s wifi modem & it has proved very reliable for live streaming in gbagada. I figure it depends on what internet package you get..the wifi modems seem to give much better performance than the USB dongles.

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