Once upon a time, the term mobile internet in Nigeria meant taking up a subscription with one of the CDMA networks only. In addition, the


Pay as you browse on CDMA networks

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Dad Camera 008Once upon a time, the term mobile internet in Nigeria meant taking up a subscription with one of the CDMA networks only. In addition, the internet service was restricted to just using a phone as a modem – mostly desktop phones in the early stages, and later also mobile phones. Browsing on-phone on Nigerian CDMA networks was unheard of back then.


Thankfully, things have changed. The coming of GSM technology has introduced a new level of awareness, competitionand services in the Nigerian mobile landscape – much like what the superb user interface of the iPhone did to the global mobile phone industry.

Pay as you browse internet services tend to be popular among casual internet users – those who do not want to shell out a huge payment every month but need access to the internet for light browsing and basic email. Usually, GSM networks charge for data transferred, regardless of how long a user stays connected. CDMA networks, however charge per minute.


On CDMA networks, this used to be very expensive business, with some networks charging as much as N7.50 per minute back then, though some are still close now. Translated, a subscriber would be burning N450 for staying connected continously for one hour. Xpensive!

Lower Tariffs
The tariffs for pay as you browse services have since dropped and become more pocket-friendly. Here are the options that you have on three of the most vibrant CDMA networks available now:

  • Starcomms: N3.00 per minute
  • Visafone: N2.50 per minute
  • ZOOMmobile: N6.00 per minute peak; N4.80 per minute off-peak; N3.90 per minute midnight

We have no information on Multilinks’ tariff at the moment, as we could find no such information on this operator’s website.

The Visafone tariff of N2.50 per minute is the most pocket-friendly at the moment, closely followed by Starcomms at N3.00 per minute. Of course, you also have to pay attention to coverage and other factors in choosing a service provider, so do your research.

Do you use any of these pay as you browse services from CDMA operators? Would you like to share your experiences?

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  2. Pay as you browse doesn’t pay well. I have access to zoom in Abuja. The speed is awful. I dont think for one minute it makes sense to charge based on time with such snail speeds. I haven’t tried starcomms and co on pay as you browse but my experience with zoom has left a bitter taste in my mouth. I opt for Zain’s N1000 a month for my casual browsing. When Glo misbehave, I get me N175 five hour per day multilinks, which, though time based, is much better the zoom.

  3. I have a little reason to be suspicious of the per minute billing system for Internet acces. If an operator charges per minute, it will be to it’s advantage for customers to stay connected for longer periods therefore fast connections will be bad for business. If something I can accomplish in five minutes took me twenty minutes then the operator will make more money because of the awful speed.

    But if the operator charges per kilobyte then the faster the speed, the more kilobytes you burn per second. Therefore the speed will be to the operator’s advantage as much as it is to the customers advantage.

    I am not passing a verdict here but just my thought on the mobile Internet thing

  4. NCC should monitor all services provided by our network operators, I believe they are more concerned about voice and sms. There is really no avenue for us to make complains. Is consumer parliament still running?

  5. CDMA as a technology provides a robust connection to the internet, though GSM technologies are heavily promoted in Europe, Africa and now Asia. Sadly our CDMA operators don’t have the financial muscle to compete with the GSM companies in terms of coverage and deployment, if not i would always prefer a CDMA operator for my internet needs, however they have proven to be more reliable.

    Billing per time is not an option for me. What happens when the speed is damn slow?

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