apple watch LTE

Sometime earlier this month, reports surfaced that the next Apple Watch release would include an LTE version. However, it now appears that the device will come in both an LTE version and one without LTE. Apple of course has not made any indication that the design of these Apple Watch models will be any different from previous models. In fact, it was rumored that the new Apple Watch will be in its usual two sizes, which are 38mm and 42mm.

Apparently, the new models of the Apple Watch will also use an eSIM instead of the physical SIM. The cellular connection, also, may only be used for data transfer.

According to Bloomberg, the cellular Apple Watch will have LTE connectivity. But it will not offer 3G connection. this would severely limit the device to certain markets.  This little tidbit of information had already been forecasted by Ming-Chi Kuo of KGI Securities.apple watch LTE

Furthermore, in June this year, Apple announced that new watchfaces can update based on time of day or location. these would be launching later this year. Also, the company stated that it would release a Siri watchface, which could show relevant content. A constant connection would surely facilitate these updates. For example, users could leave their phones and still be able to use Siri and respond to iMessages.

Funnily enough, these reports never ruled out services like Skype and FaceTime for calling. But then, this will simply be another loss if the cellular Apple Watch cannot handle calls. Also, despite the possibility of boosting sales for the Apple Watch, Ming-Chi Kuo does not believe that Apple Watch will gain Android compatibility this year. Some have suggested adding LTE, which could make the Apple Watch more independent from the iPhone. This would be a step toward making the Apple Watch more compatible with Android.

 

In the meantime, if Apple does not change, the next Apple Watch, which should be out alongside the latest iPhone, may have LTE.

Source

MTN 4G data plan

MTN Nigeria announced commencement of 4G LTE services some months ago. I was one of the early adopters and found it fairly good. However, in the last few weeks, that Y’hello 4G LTE network seems to have gone AWOL. Everywhere I have gone, I am no longer able to find and use MTN’s 4G network.

At the office; gone. At home; gone. At other locations in Lagos that I have been; gone. MTN 4G seems to be gone.

MTN 4G data plan

Others are reporting similar experiences too. Fred tweeted this yesterday:


This morning, I needed to make use of it again and switched to 4G network mode. Nada. Zilch. MTN 4G network is still gone.

As I have said before, the quality of service issues that internet service providers (ISPs) in Nigeria are known for is still very much a regular feature. You know the drill: start out great, then proceed to water down the service till it is but a shadow of what it should be. Nothing has changed.

But a situation where a network disappears for prolonged periods of time is unacceptable. Plus, there has been no notice to subscribers explaining anything. No; not acceptable. Perhaps, MTN cannot be depended on to provide reliable 4G internet service. At least, from my end here.

Or perhaps MTN Nigeria have turned off their 4G LTE network. Only one way to tell. If you use MTN 4G, please share what your experience with it has been like in the last few weeks.

data tariff hike

A data tariff hike is imminent in Nigeria as operators act on an NCC (Nigerian Communications Commission) directive. Mister Mobility explains why it is happening.

I needed to renew my MTN data plan last night and proceeded to dial *131# to do so. After completing the process, the line ran the USSD code and then I got a prompt saying: “Connection problem or invalid MMI code”. I have tried to renew several times since that time and got that same prompt each time. Finally, this morning, I called the MTN customer care hotline and got the following pre-recorded audio message first:

“Dear customer,

Please be informed that from the 1st of December 2016, all MTN data plans will be changed in compliance to NCC directive to all operators. Thank you.”

data tariff hike

A colleague using Glo 4G internet got this message:

Dear Customer, your plan will soon expire after which you will be moved to Flexi voice and data recharge. Use it the way you like. To buy another data plan visit http://hsi.glo.com or dial *777#.

Amazing. Apparently, there was some directive from the NCC to the effect that mobile operators make changes to their data plans. The fact that this notice has been put up tells us that the changes will not be good. They will not result in a further drop in tariff. Nigerians can expect an increase in mobile data plan tariff from the 1st of December, 2016.

Why The Data Tariff Hike?

Nobody I have spoken to is giving me any details of why this is happening. Apparently, everyone is keeping hush about it. But I can make an informed guess.

This NCC directive happened to keep the big operators like MTN, Etisalat, Glo and Airtel from killing the smaller ones like Smile, Spectranet, Swift and Ntel. Like I have commented earlier, the big four stepping into 4G LTE and offering those ridiculously low data tariffs meant that sooner or later, the smaller players will pack up.

Think about it: the four big operators have much better coverage, presently offer more competitive tariffs and are deploying 4G LTE across the country. The smaller players have zero leverage in this scenario. Zero. The smaller players have no competitive advantage whatsoever. This will lead to loss of many jobs and collapse of investments. The country cannot afford that.

There is no other valid reason I can think of behind a directive to increase data tariffs by the operators. Outside of this reason, Nigeria stands to gain much more from the recent reduction in data tariffs by the mobile operators than from a tariff hike.

To be certain, this data tariff hike will be unpleasant to many Nigerian internet users. It is unpleasant to me. I am not excited about it in any way. But it looks like a necessary evil to avoid a greater one.

Meanwhile, the renewal problem I am experiencing on MTN is likely to be from backend activities to modify their system in readiness for December 1st. What the new tariffs will be like is still unclear. Will the big operators revert to what was on ground before the recent drop in data tariffs or find a middle ground? December 1 is around the corner.

PS: Is any Nollywood movie director already working on a movie titled “December 1”?

Update: This The Cable news report confirms that the imminent data hike is a measure to protect small operators and new entrants. The NCC has re-introduced the floor price for data service. Small operators and new entrants are exempted from the re-introduced interim floor price for data service of 0.90k/MB. The price floor for data was earlier removed in November 2015

Excerpt from the NCC directive:

In order to provide a level playing field for all operators in the industry, small operators and new entrants to acquire market share and operate profitably, small operators and new entrants are hereby exempted from the price floor for data services.

It added, “For the avoidance of doubt a small operator is one that has less than 7.5 per cent market share and a new entrant is an operator that has operated less than three years in the market.

Update: Wednesday 30th November 2016: The NCC has suspended the directive on data segment price floor.

peg 4G network - three smartphones

You are probably thinking, “This man has come again.” The truth is that I never left. I have been harping on the benefits of being able to peg the network of a smartphone. I shall continue to. This time I am talking about the importance of being able to peg 4G network on a smartphone. Let me tell you a story of three smartphones and two 4G networks.

peg 4G network - three smartphones

Cannot Peg 4G Network: Scene One

Last weekend, I put my MTN 4G SIM card in an Android smartphone that I was to review. As usual, I was all excited about playing with a new toy for the period of the review. Within moments, I had a network signal. I got 4G. Ah! All was good. But the bubble burst not too long after. Ask me what happened. Good.

After a while, the phone network switched to 3G. And then 2G. And then after a period of frustrating wait, it went back to 4G. But it didn’t stay there for long. I dived into the phone settings and found Network Settings. There, I discovered that the only options I had were auto network. In other words, the phone had no options to let me peg it to 2G only, 3G only, or 4G only. For the period of the review, I had to live with the dancing around of the network from 2G to 3G to 4G and back. Internet usage was anything but pleasant for the period.

This is what the network mode menu looks like for a phone that does not provide the option to peg to 4G network only:

peg-4g-network-auto

If you pick 4G, it lets the phone switch between all three. If you select 3G, it lets the phone switch between 3G and 2G. If you select 2G, the device is pegged to 2G only.

Cannot Peg 4G Network: Scene Two

At the office yesterday, a Mobility Arena team member mentioned how he was not getting Etisalat 4G network there at the office. He had enjoyed 4G service all weekend at home and now, here at work where he really needed it, it was nowhere to be found. I checked the network settings menu of his phone and found out that the phone did not provide the option to peg network. So, we decided to see what was up. We removed his SIM card and put it into another phone that provided the option to peg. Then we pegged it to 4G only. Voila! Etisalat 4G appeared. It was just two bars, but it stayed and delivered good speeds.

Of course, we had to return his SIM to his 4G smartphone and he went without 4G service for the rest of the day. The sad thing is that Etisalat mobile internet is mostly unusable in 2G and 3G modes her eat the office, so he was unable to use his data subscription at all. If his phone could peg to 4G network, he would be having a ball.

Cannot Peg 4G Network: Scene Three

Yesterday, I finally got a Glo 4G SIM card. Because of Glo’s rare LTE band 28(700), the only smartphone at my disposal that could work on it was the Lumia 950. I wasn’t excited about the prospects, because I knew that the 950 did not offer 4G only pegging. The only network one can peg on it is 3G. Have a look:

peg-4g-network-lumia-950-3g-only

The next best option was to set it to pick 4G as the highest connection speed. That means the phone will switch between 2G, 3G, and 4G depending on network conditions. I have had my Glo 4G SIM in the Lumia 950 since yesterday afternoon, but the damned phone has stayed locked on 2G (EDGE) all through till now. What the heck! Not even 3G. At least, keep me locked on 3G. Not freaking 2G.What am I going to do with 2G in 2016?

Three different 4G smartphones that did not allow the user to peg 4G network.

Ability To Peg Is Essential

The ability to peg the network that your phone latches to is essential if your smartphone is your primary data device and you require it for serious work. If not, don’t bother. If you use Wifi for most of your work, do ignore this article.

Thankfully, my primary smartphone provides the option to peg the network anyway I want – 2G only, 3G only, 4G only or auto. Here is what the network mode menu looks like:

peg 4g network

When I need best performance, I peg it to 4G only and enjoy the experience.

No Calls When Pegged To 4G

This is important: whenever you peg your smartphone to 4G only, your line will be unreachable fr voice calls and SMS. 4G only is data only. To be able to receive calls, you either peg to 3G or 2G or leave the phone in auto network mode and let it switch as it wills.

Smartphones That Let You Peg 4G Network

Let’s start with phones that don’t. If you love pure Android OS and will use only smartphones that have that, you are out of luck. If you hate skinned Android phones, sorry. Stock Android does not include the option to peg. You can only select auto modes. The first screenshot in this article is from a smartphone that runs pure Android OS.

So, forget about seeing the options to peg network on Nexus, Motorola, Android One and other pure Android smartphones.

By default, Android manufacturers have to add the option to peg network. Modifying Android OS makes it possible. Some do it. Many don’t. I have handled smartphones by Lenovo, Huawei, Samsung, and Apple and can tell you authoritatively that they do not provide the feature to peg network.

Here are some smartphones that let users peg the network:

  1. TECNO: The ability to peg network mode is built into TECNO’s HiOS. It is now a standard feature.
  2. Infinix: Same goes for Infinix Mobility’s XOS.
  3. Lumia: this is a mixed bag. Some Lumias offer the option to peg network; others do not. Don’t ask me why. The engineers behind those phones throw dice or something to determine which phones get it and which do not.

But There Are Apps For That

If your smartphone does not let you peg 4G network, you can install a third party app to add that functionality. An example of such apps is Notification Toggle. There are several others in Google Play. do note that those apps are not 100% reliable. After some interval, the phone loses the pegged network and you have to keep pegging again and again each time that happens.

In my opinion, if 4G service is important to you, just buy a smartphone that lets you peg 4G network. Whichever way you choose to go though, I wish you all the best! May you never be stuck with unusable internet because you could not peg your smartphone’s network to 4G or even 3G.

PS: This dilemma is just as valid for 4G modems and mifi devices. They do not support all 4G LTE bands either. Plus, pegging to 4G network on those devices is often a pain in the neck too.

It is raining 4G LTE in Nigeria. Your head must be swimming now if you haven’t lost count of 4G LTE networks in the country now. Etisalat is the latest right after Glo a few days ago. Say hello to Etisalat Nigeria 4G LTE.

Etisalat Nigeria 4G

Etisalat Nigeria say their 4G LTE band is 1800 and the speed is between 25Mbps and 100Mbps. The network also says that, unlike with the competition, you do not need to swap your existing Etisalat SIM cards. Apparently, Etisalat launched with 4G-ready SIM cards in the country. 

It looks like the Etisalat Nigeria 4G service hasn’t been activated at my location. When I put my SIM in a compatible phone, it doesn’t connect to the 4G network though Etisalat 4G network is listed as available when I do a manual network search. 

However, other Etisalat subscribers across Lagos are reporting being able to connect. Have an Etisalat SIM and a 4G LTE smartphone that supports Etisalat Nigeria 4G frequency? Give it a shot and let us know how it goes. 

traffic lagos

I remember how Smile launched first in Ibadan and only showed up in Lagos much later. I remember because now, Smile is pushing Lagos to the back burner once again as it releases one value-packed data plan after another.

The 4G LTE provider has released a new set of data plans that are really, really enticing. One is the Unlimited Lite plan that throttles your data from 21 Mbps to 1 Mbps after crossing the 30 GB usage line. 1 Mbps isn’t bad. It is very usable. The plan costs N10,000 monthly, but if you live in Lagos, you cannot subscribe to it.

Smile data plan - traffic lagos

Another new not-so-bad data plan from Smile is the 7GB for N5,000 monthly. Again, it is not available for people based in Lagos. Enter a new vista: location-based data plans. And with Smile, Lagos isn’t very friendly territory. As a Smile 4G subscriber, I feel bad. Horribly so. This feels like betrayal.

Smile’s Game Plan

The funny thing is that as a business person in tech, I totally understand the game plan. Lagos is where all the data-guzzling crazy people are. Okay, not all. Most of them. But clearly, Lagos is known for its horrible traffic not only on the roads but also online. Opening up those plans to Lagos would mean a huge jump in data consumption. That’s a huge hit on their capacity. So, keep Lagosians and their agbero behaviour away. Same reason why Smile initially launched at Ibadan instead of Lagos.

I understand the game plan, but I am still not liking it. Smile has no big smiles for Lagos and I am not smiling back either. It is time for me to see which other 4G network that is Lagos-friendly that I shall pitch my tent with.

The 4G Data Plan Alternatives

InterC (former Intercellular) seems to be following in Smile’s tactical footsteps and avoiding Lagos wahala for now. You Lagosians must be really horrible. Please mend your ways. MTN is still waxing lyrical about how they will launch 4G LTE in a few months like we are supposed to be excited about that. The yellow boys need to take a seat, please.

Sadly, with Smile not smiling at Lagosians, InterC following suit, and MTN still in the kitchen, it does not look like I have any choice for 4G data other than Ntel at the moment.

MTN 4G network live

A few hours ago, MobilityArena blogged that MTN is giving their 4G LTE a spin but albeit only those they migrated from the erstwhile CDMA network, Visafone will be able take part in this trial. Well, I can confirm that MTN 4G network live in Ibadan. Let me tell you the story.

I commented on the post that on getting home I would give this a try with my own migrated Visafone to MTN line. Even though I still have about N13,000 out of the N30,000 I was credited on migrating some weeks back I couldn’t use the airtime for data, so I quickly migrated the the line to MTN pulse, bought 500 airtime and activated the N500 for 1GB plan.

Alas! It is working and working well! O’boy am I ecstatic! ??

MTN 4G network live: Screenshots

See screenshot of my phone screen and the two speedtest results I ran. Beginning of the end for the likes of Smile, Spectranet etc? As they say, only time will tell.

MTN 4G network live Ibadan

You don’t have an ex-Visafone line? Eeeya, sorry o… It will soon reach your turn! ?

PS: Mr Mo also confirms that MTN 4G network is live in Lagos on his ex-Visafone line. – Editor

Infinix Hot S 4G test

The Infinix Hot S is a 4G LTE smartphone that supports Smile’s LTE band 20(800) and Ntel’s 3(1800) / 8(900) bands on paper. But as you may already know, that is no guarantee that the phone is actually compatible with the network. LTE compatibility is messy. That a device is specified as supporting a 4G network’s frequency bands does not mean it will necessarily work with it. So, the MobilityArena.com team took the pains to try out SIM cards from both networks in the phone. See our findings from the Infinix Hot S 4G tests after the jump.

Infinix Hot S 4G test

Ntel: Infinix Hot S 4G test

Putting an Ntel 4G SIM card into the Infinix Hot S gave us the surprise of our lives. Almost instantly, the phone locked on to the network. It is the fastest 4G LTE lock that we have obtained on any of the smartphones we have run a 4G test with. Note that we could only use it in data-only mode. No voice.

Smile: Infinix Hot S 4G test

We got very similar results with a Smile 4G SIM card in the Hot S – it locked to the network immediately and we were browsing in no time. As with Ntel, we could use the Smile SIM only with the phone set to 4G only network mode.

Conclusions

The Infinix Hot S is a winner here. It works well with both Smile and Ntel 4G networks, so you can buy it without fear of compatibility issues with either 4G network. Under Network Mode in the phone Settings, 4G only option is available there, and that is the mode we used for both SIM cards. The phone also latches on to the networks very fast.

4G war between LTE and WiMAX

There was once a 4G battle between LTE and WiMAX. In lay man’s terms, both LTE and WiMAX are siblings that deliver 4G broadband internet. They are different technologies and both fought a battle to get picked as the world’s favourite LTE platform. The battle was fought in Nigeria too.

4G battle between LTE and WiMAX

WiMAX lost the 4G battle in Nigeria

In Nigeria, Networks like MTN HyNet, Spectranet, Multilinks, Swift and others all setup commercial internet services with WiMAX. All of those listed above have since converted to LTE. Like CDMA lost out to GSM, WiMAX has lost the 4G battle to LTE. WiMAX is dead in Nigeria. Eventually, perhaps it will go extinct worldwide as the human race plunges ahead with LTE for 4G broadband internet.

Globally, WiMAX didn’t stand a chance either

Globally, WiMAX smartphones did not take off strong either. There are few WiMAX mobile networks compared to LTE networks. It was even worse with compatible smartphones. Very few of them were ever made. HTC announced the first WiMAX enabled mobile phone, the Max 4G, on November 12, 2008. The device was only available to certain markets in Russia on the Yota network. Every where in the world, LTE deployment has left WiMAX in the dust.

If the technical differences between LTE and WiMAX interest you, see this guide.

Image Source

ntel 4G internet settings

So, you have finally got your Ntel 4G SIM, subscribed to one of the data plans and are ready to start burning that unlimited internet package during the initial 3-month data test drive. Maybe you have a compatible smartphone, mifi or modem and need to configure it for use. We have the Ntel 4G internet settings that you need to use available for you right here on MobilityArena.com.

ntel 4G internet settings

First, make sure that your device is Flexible Division Duplex (FDD) with support for LTE 3 (1800MHz) and 8 (900MHz) spectrum bands. Usually, this information is available on the product packaging or documentation.

Second, go to the Mobile Networks on your phone and select Select 4G (recommended) or LTE Only as your preferred network mode.

Lastly, got to Access Point Names (APN) settings. Create a new APN and name it “Ntel 4G”. Depending on the device that you have, the settings may vary slightly. Try Option A below:

Ntel 4G internet settings Option A

APN: ntel
username: ntel
password: ntel

Don’t touch any other fields in the APN settings. Save the APN, select it as your active APN and try to browse. If you are unable to browse with the above, try the Option B below:

Ntel 4G internet settings Option B

APN: ntel
username: blank
password: blank

If you are still unable to browse with either of the above settings, the other APN fields may need minor adjusting. Just drop a comment below and I just might be able to guide you.

4G tests

Like you already know, I got my Ntel SIM card on Saturday. Today, I was a guest at TechCityNg at Oregun, Lagos, where we shot a very fun video for their 7 Minute Show. Oh; what fun we had. To crown the good time, I found to my delight that there is very good Ntel 4G network coverage there, so I simply camped there after the video shoot.

Ntel 4G phone icons

After battling with the configuration settings on the Huawei GR3 (see my Huawei GR3 unboxing), I finally got it working around 5 pm and immediately ran a few tests tests. Here are my first Ntel 4G Speedtest results:

The Ntel 4G Speedtest Results

Ntel 4G speedtest 1

Ntel 4G Speedtest 2

As you can see, we are looking at an average of 12 Mbps download speed and 1-5 Mbps upload speed. It isn’t exactly groundbreaking. I was expecting download speeds in excess of 40 Mbps, so this is a bit disappointing. I am hoping that I can get stray signals at home and at the office, so I don’t have to pack my things permanently and become an everyday face at TechCityNg’s really cool office space.

PS: Do not forget to check out the list of Ntel 4G compatible smartphones that we are compiling.

Btel 4G compatible

Yesterday, I finally got my Ntel 4G SIM card and line. Roll out the drums. Share the gala. Share the booze! LOL. Anyway, in addition to that, I also got the official list of confirmed Ntel 4G compatible smartphones just for you guys. Have a look after the jump.

Ntel 4G compatible

Ntel 4G compatible smartphones supporting LTE & VOLTE

1. Samsung S6 edge
2. Samsung S7
3. TECNO C5
4. konka R2

Ntel 4G compatible smartphones supporting LTE Data only

1. Huawei P8
2. Huawei Mate 8
3. Huawei Mate 7
4. TECNO Boom J8
5. TECNO Phantom 5
6. Lenovo Vibe P1m
7. Lenovo Vibe X3
8. Lenovo A2010
9. Infinix X600
10. Infinix Note 2
11. Infinix Zero 3
12. Sony Z5 Compact, Dual and Premium
13. Sony Z3
14. Sony C4

The above smartphones are not the only Ntel 4G compatible smartphones that are available in the market. These are just the ones that Ntel have officially confirmed in-house. Now that we have an Ntel SIM card here at Mobility Arena, we will be able to test other smartphones and report back to you, just as we have been doing with Smile 4G. Expect more exciting 4G LTE compatibility tests from us going forward.

User-Verified Ntel 4G Compatible smartphones

I thought it would be nice to also compile a list of smartphones that Ntel users have confirmed works on the network. Please use the comment form to tell us what devices you have successfully used on Ntel, and we will add them to this list.

1. Microsoft Lumia 640 XL LTE Dual SIM
2. Asus Zenfone 2 (ZE551ML)
3. Huawei GR3
4. TECNO Camon C9
5. Innjoo Fire 2 Plus LTE


PS: Ntel 4G coverage is now also available in Lagos Mainland. The problem is, it is available in spots and patches. All I have to do now is find an area covered that has a park, garden or recreation spot, so I can go sit by posterior and try out the service.

PS2: The Ntel website is now functional too with lots of information. Go check it out: www.Ntel.com.ng.

MTN 4G

If you are resident in Nigeria and follow MobilityArena.com, you are already aware that MTN Nigeria acquired Visafone, have been migrating subscribers off CDMA to their own GSM network and are rolling out a 4G LTE network using Visafone’s compatible frequency band. You are also already aware that MTN 4G has been tipped for a June launch.

The Search for MTN 4G network

Well, I am delighted to confirm to you that after running some searches for available networks, I can confirm that the MTN 4G network is already available (at least here in Lagos where I ran my searches). Have a look at a crop of a screenshot I made from the search results:

MTN 4G available

The catch is that you can’t connect to MTN 4G and use it yet. But it is there, and it is the only 4G network available among the big four operators. Of course, I am certain that restricted access must be available to testers and the like within the organisation.

MTN 4G

We will be in June in some hours, but no-one at MTN that I have spoken to has been able to confirm exactly when the MTN 4G network will be commercially launched. MTN is keeping things under wraps nicely, it seems. We will wait.

When the time comes, it will be interesting to see what performance will be like and how the existing 4G service providers will respond to the giant in the room stepping into the territory.

Yezz Andy 4G C5VP

The Yezz Andy C5VP is a budget 4G LTE smartphone. We are looking at a Quad-core 1.3 GHz processor, 1GB of RAM, 8GB internal storage and a 2020 mAh battery. Check out the complete specs below.

Technology

  • GSM: GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900
  • 3G: HSDPA 900 / 1900 / 2100
  • 4G: FDD-LTE 3(1800) / 7(2600) / 20(800)
  • SIM Type: Single SIM. Dual SIM variant is available (Andy 5VP)
  • OS: Android 4.4.4 Kitkat

Yezz Andy C5VP

Design

  • Dimensions: 1144.2 x 73.2 x 9.3 mm
  • Weight: 180 g
  • Display: 5.0 inch 540 x 960 pixels, 220 PPI, IPS LCD display
  • Sensors: Accelerometer, Proximity
  • Build: Plastic
  • Colours: Black. Red. Blue. White

Hardware

  • Processor Type: Quad-Core 1.3 GHz
  • Processor Name: Mediatek MT6582M
  • Graphics Processor: ARM Mali-400MP2
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Internal Storage: 8 GB
  • External Storage: MicroSD card up to 64 GB

Camera

  • Rear: 13.0 megapixel, autofocus, LED flash
  • Video recording: 720p
  • Front-facing: 5 megapixel

Multimedia

  • Music Support: mp3, aac, aac+, eaac+, amr
  • Audio:
  • Loudspeaker: Mono
  • Video Support: mpeg4, h.263, h.264
  • FM Radio:

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth: v4.0
  • WiFi: Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct, hotspot
  • GPS: Yes
  • USB: microUSB v2.0

Miscellaneous

  • Battery: 2020 mAh
  • Announcement: June 2014
  • Availability: August 2014
  • Launch Price: N19,950
Ntel launches 4G network - in ghost mode

Today, Ntel announced that they have launched commercial operations in clusters in Lagos and Abuja. The catch is that nobody has any information on where to pick a SIM card. There is no such information in the press releases. Even the Ntel website is of no help.

Ntel launches 4G network - ghost

If you can get your hands on a SIM though, Ntel’s press release says they are offering free on-net calls for life for the first 100,000 subscribers to activate their lines, as well as “unlimited data usage for 3 months on select bundles”.

Ntel is promising fast broadband speeds if up to 230 Mbps. That sounds juicy. We wait still.

super-fast broadband

While waiting for Ntel SIM cards to get into our hands, I stumbled upon a speedtest result of their 4G/LTE internet by an early tester, it seems. NTel claims to offer the most advanced 4G mobile network in Africa. The jury is out on that, but the speedtest results sure are impressive. Have a look:


Not half bad. The results are certainly better – much better – than I have seen on any other 4G/LTE provider in Nigeria till date.

ntel 4g speedtest

Of course, we can expect that real life speeds, once the service goes commercial and gets packed full of subscribers, will drop significantly. In the meantime, we wait for those SIM cards…

voice calls on Smile 4G

You asked and so we got in touch with Smile Communications to ask for a list of VoLTE smartphones that have been tested in-house by them and found compatible with their SmileVoice service. They sent us a list. It is a short one. We will keep updating it as we confirm more devices.

  1. Lumia 640
  2. Lumia 640XL
  3. Samsung Galaxy S6 edge
  4. Samsung J5
  5. Samsung J7

The above phones are LTE phones enabled for VoLTE and do not need the SmileVoice app to make and receive calls over the LTE network. Psst: Has anyone here tried out VoLTE calls on the TECNO Phantom 5?

If you need to use SmileVoice on a non-VoLTE compatible phone, just get an Android or iOS smartphone, install and use the SmileVoice app, and you are good to go.

Recently, I was asked to compile and publish a list of phones that are compatible with smile 4G network. As you may already know, this 4G LTE business is already complicated as it is. There are dozens of frequencies and details to make the average user’s head explode. The summary of it is that smartphone compatibility is a big issue. But when you think you have it all figured out, some other information pops up.

4G smartphones

In the past, we have had the case of a smartphone that supported Smile’s band 20 (800 MHz), but when we put a Smile SIM in it, it failed to register to the network. That was the Lenovo A6000. Now we have another smartphone in the house that supports Smile’s 4G band but won’t register either: the Lumia 950.

So, we reached out to Microsoft about this and they sent in this explanation:

The 4G network has to have voice as well. So the radio checks for the voice first and then if seen, latches unto the 4G network.

As SMILE has no voice, it will not latch.

So, it is not enough that your 4G SIM card and a smartphone support the same LTE band. From Microsoft’s response, it appears that some smartphones are designed to look for voice first, and since Smile has no voice…bummer.

As you know, Smile 4G is not a mobile network operator. It is a broadband service provider. The recently launched SmileVoice is not a traditional network voice service, so it doesn’t count. This will present a unique situation for many Smile subscribers who will want to use their SIMs in one LTE smartphone or the other. What to do? If possible, take your smartphone to a Smile centre for a compatibility test.

In the meantime, we are compiling as much info as possible towards helping you pick smartphones that are compatible with Smile’s 4G network. The very first that we confirmed in-house here at Mobility Arena is the TECNO Phantom 5. Expect a list from us soon.