Nigeria is one of the most vibrant mobile markets in the world. This page provides quick and comprehensive facts about mobile networks, technology and services in Nigeria. The sections include a history of mobile technology in the country.

Nigeria flag phone

Mobile Technology in Nigeria

August 2016

Airtel 9mobile Glo MTN Multilinks Visafone
GSM, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA GSM, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, HSPA GSM, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, DVB-H GSM, EDGE, UMTS, HSDPA, DVB-H CDMA, EVDO CDMA, EVDO
32,375,069 active subscribers 22,599,670 active subscribers 36,752,012 active subscribers 60,558,569 active subscribers 4,460 active subscribers 324,633 active subscribers
18,519,233 internet subscribers 15,248,932 internet subscribers 26,984,974 internet subscribers 32,771,259 internet subscribers NA NA
  • Total Active Mobile Lines: 152,614,413
  • Total Active Mobile Internet Connections: 93,524,398

Smartphone Users

There were an estimated 15-20 million smartphones in use in the country as at December 2014, broken down in the following ratio:

  • BlackBerry OS: 30%
  • Android OS: 50%
  • Others: 20%

As at September 2016, it is estimated that there are 22 million smartphones in use (see: Nigeria Smartphone Penetration [September 2016]).

History of Mobile in Nigeria

The first mobile cellular services began in 1993 with Mtel, but was elitist and restricted in every way. Later, other CDMA operators offered limited mobile phone services as a small segment of their bouquet of services.

Widespread mobile services however took off in August 2001 when Airtel Nigeria (then ECONET Wireless) launched the first commercial GSM services in Nigeria. In a few years, Nigeria was toasted everywhere as one of the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world. Nigeria has since overtaken South Africa to become Africa’s largest mobile market. MTN launched right after. In August 2003, Glo commenced operations, and Etisalat joined the GSM party in December 2009. In July 2017, Etisalat re-branded to 9mobile after the exit of Etisalat UAE.

GPRS in Nigeria

As part of its 1st Anniversary celebration, Glo Mobile launched GPRS based services on August 29th, 2004.

3G in Nigeria

In 2007, four applicants were successful in obtaining a 10MHz lot each in the 2GHz band for third generation (3G) mobile services. The successful operators were:

  1. Alheri Engineering. Later sold license to Etisalat (now 9mobile)
  2. Celtel Nigeria (now Airtel)
  3. GloMobile
  4. MTN Nigeria Communications

In early 2008, GloMobile launched the first commercial 3G service on their UMTS/HSPA network, followed closely by MTN. Alheri later sold their 3G license to Etisalat (now 9mobile), which rolled out their service in 2011.

Mobile TV

At the moment, only MTN and GloMobile offer mobile TV (DVB-H) services in the country. They both have Dstv Mobile service available to subscribers with type handsets.

Active 4G LTE Networks

The country has a growing 4G broadband sector that is latching on LTE technology. Some service providers started out running WIMAX technology but have switched to LTE. In 2016, the mobile operators began to launch 4G LTE networks across the country. Here is a constantly updated list of active 4G networks in Nigeria.

Mobile Internet Settings

If you ever need to manually configure your mobile for web browsing, here are settings for Nigerian networks.

Smile 4G

  • Proxy : Nil (No proxy needed)
  • APN Name: internet
  • Password: Nil (No password needed)
  • IP Version: IPv4

NOTE: User must attempt to scan manually for the LTE network, which is SMILE NG or 62127.

MTN

  • Account Name: MTN GPRS
  • Access Point Name (APN): web.gprs.mtnnigeria.net
  • Username: web
  • Password: web
  • IP Address: 10.199.212.2
  • Port: 9201 (for WAP) or 8080 (for HTML)

Airtel

  • Account Name: Airtel Mobile Internet
  • Access Point Name (APN): internet.ng.airtel.com
  • Username: internet (or blank)
  • Password: internet (or blank)
  • IP Address: none
  • Port: none

Glo

  • Account Name: Glo High Speed Internet
  • Access Point Name (APN): gloflat
  • Username: flat
  • Password: flat
  • IP Address: none
  • Port: none

9mobile

  • Account Name: 9mobile
  • Access Point Name (APN): 9mobile
  • Username: none
  • Password: none
  • IP Address: none
  • Port: none

Visafone

  • Server IP: 192.168.165.201
  • Server Port: 8080
  • Server Dial: #777 (optional on some phones)
  • Login Name: wap@wap.com
  • Password: wap

Nigerian Mobile Network Codes

You’ve seen those numbers, 0814xxxyyyy, 0909yyyxxxx, etc, and wondered which network owns which. Now, you can know. Note though that because of Mobile Number Portability (MNP), users are able to migrate a particular number from its native network to another. So, network codes don’t necessarily tell all anymore.

0701 Airtel
07025 Visafone
07026 Visafone
07028 Starcomms
07029 Starcomms
07027 Multi-Links
0703 MTN
0704 Visafone
0705 Globacom
0706 MTN
0707 ZoomMobile (formerly Reltel)
0708 Airtel
0709 Multi-Links
0802 Airtel
0803 MTN
0804 MTEL
0805 Globacom
0806 MTN
0807 Globacom
0808 Airtel
0809 9mobile
0810 MTN
0811 Globacom
0812 Airtel
0813 MTN
0814 MTN
0815 Globacom
0816 MTN
0817 9mobile
0818 9mobile
0819 Starcomms
0902 Airtel
0903 MTN
0905 Globacom
0909 9mobile

Nigerian GSM Frequencies

If roaming to Nigeria, or intending to import GSM mobile phones into the country, be sure to note the following specifications required for the Nigerian market:

Summary
Mobile Technology in Nigeria: Statistics, History, Settings
Article Name
Mobile Technology in Nigeria: Statistics, History, Settings
Description
This page provides quick and comprehensive facts about mobile networks, technology and services in Nigeria. The sections include a history of mobile technology in the country.
Author
Publisher Name
Mobility Arena
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