The curious case of Spectranet SIM card sales

Have you ever tried to purchase a Spectranet SIM card standalone? I have. One phrase: Mission Impossible. I have been to up to four Spectranet outlets in Lagos in the last 9 months. Despite the fact that Spectranet’s Twitter handle assured me that I can buy a SIM card, each outlet tells me that they are unable to sell me a SIM card if I am not buying a modem or router. Sorry, guys, but I have no use for a new router or modem. I have a handful of those things lying around here at the office.

And so, till date, I have been unable to buy a Spectranet SIM card. Just two weeks ago, I sent a member of the Mobility team to a nearby Spectranet shop. It is just a stone’s throw from Mobility Arena’s office. He returned with the same error message: Spectranet wouldn’t sell us a SIM card without a modem or router purchase.

No Spectranet SIM card

My good man, Fred Akinrelere, lives in the ancient Ibadan. By the way, Ibadan needs to decide whether it wants to remain ancient or become modern. We are tired. LOL. Anyway, Fred was at a Spectranet store in Ibadan today. After a lot of back and forth, he was finally able to purchase a Spectranet 4G SIM card. He called me to share the news and to narrate how he fulfilled the even Tasks of Hercules before he could get that SIM card. Poor Fred. But I am happy at the good news.

Who know – I might even drive down to Ibadan so he can take me to that shop that dared to buck the archaic trend of not selling SIM cards without modems and routers. At least, finally, I can get a Spectranet SIM card. That is all I want.

Spectranet SIM card and Huawei Mate 7

Every time I have asked Spectranet about their SIM card, they tell me that only the Huawei Mate 7 work with it. They know that is bullshit. I know that is bullshit. You know that is bullshit. But Spectranet keeps repeating this nonsense.

I must mention too that the Mate 7 is a 2014 smartphone. Why anyone who wants an up-to-date 4G smartphone would want to buy that in 2016 beats me. There are tons of newer, more advanced devices available in the market today. And quite a number of them cost less too.

Fred has his Spectranet SIM card working fine in his Infinix Hot S smartphone. Here are screenshots:

Spectranet 4G mobile network setting

Spectranet 4G SIM cards

How Fast?

He ran speedtests too. I wasn’t expecting anything fantastic and I wasn’t disappointed. Have a look:

Spectranet 4G speedtest

Fred says he will share more details with me tomorrow.

Subscriber Acquisition Should Be Spectranet’s Goal

Dear Spectranet staff, talk to your bosses (the ones who call the shots). Tell them that you all will be out of jobs soon if they keep running the business this way. Spectranet is a service provider. Subscriber acquisition should be their focus. The service should be their priority. Putting hurdles before people who want to give you THEIR money for your service is a horrible business idea.

What every sensible 4G network in Nigeria needs to do is get their SIM cards into as many hands as possible, regardless of what 4G devices that those people want to use.

Just yesterday, someone asked if I have a beef against Spectranet because I left them out of my list of 4G mobile providers. No; I don’t. But Spectranet seems fixated on selling devices instead of getting its service into the hands of as many people as possible. A network is not mobile in the strict sense of the word if it keeps phones off it network the way Spectranet is doing. That goes for Swift too.

Also read:  BlackBerry joins the ranks of data guzzlers with OS10

We are chasing after Spectranet now, begging that they to collect our money in exchange for SIM cards and subscription, but the brand seems to be more fixated on selling devices. One day, Spectranet might wake up too late and start chasing subscribers who are no longer interested. Remember the CDMA networks. History might just be repeating itself.

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Mister Mobility

I started blogging about mobile in 2004 as a fun way to share my passion for gadgets and mobile services. My other interests include digital media, speaking and teaching, photography, travelling, and dancing.

18 thoughts on “The curious case of Spectranet SIM card sales

  • August 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm
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    You can have my Spectranet SIM card. It’s been lying fallow for over 3 months and I don’t think I’m ever going back to it.

    • August 17, 2016 at 7:01 pm
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      Dr. Austine,

      Yes!!!! Awesome. I will send a member of the team to call you and arrange to pick it up tomorrow. Thanks, kind sir.

    • August 17, 2016 at 8:01 pm
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      Thanks Doc for bailing us out! 🙂 Congrats Mr. Mo. You’ll need to reactivate though if it’s past 90 days.

    • August 17, 2016 at 8:18 pm
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      You’re welcome, Mr Mo. I’ll be expecting your call.

  • August 17, 2016 at 7:09 pm
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    Leave them Biko. They will learn the hard way.

    I shared how a few weeks ago I went to get the battery to their mifi in their office and they were bent on putting hurdles before me.

    First they needed my sim details to sell me a battery. Then they needed me to subscribe to buy a battery. Then they told me I could only buy 1 spare battery “because I oen just one mifi”

    I do not know how anyone with a business sense thinks the above scenario is sensible, but hey. I’m not one to have compassion on stupid business.

  • August 17, 2016 at 7:32 pm
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    Mr Mo you have time oh, the network or business or whatever they call themselves are not serious. I bet when mtn comes online in the 4g segment they will either sit up or fold up

    • August 17, 2016 at 8:24 pm
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      Thanks jare, Ifeanyi. Unfortunately, my work here on MobilityArena.com requires that I be able to test phones on as many networks as possible. So, this Spectranet matter is very frustrating for me. Sadly, if Spectranet doesn’t sit up now, they are likely to suffer huge losses later.

  • August 17, 2016 at 8:27 pm
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    Beyond SIM cards for 4G networks the SMILE model still the best. In addition to SIM cards availability, the provision of mifi, and router devices key, given the compatibility issues faced with 4G frequency bands. There are some phones I like as per specs, but their 4G LTE incompatibility in Nigeria shouldn’t stop me if I have the option of a mifi I can connect via wifi.

  • August 17, 2016 at 10:19 pm
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    Beyond SIM cards for 4G networks the SMILE model still the best. In addition to SIM cards availability, the provision of mifi, and router devices key.

    That is exactly what we are demanding that Spectranet does – let users buy SIM cards and decide whether or not they want to use a modem, router or smartphone. Without making SIMs available, Spectranet doen’t even stand a chance in the mobile market.

    Everyone can note my words and quote me in a few years’ time when the dust has settled.

  • August 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm
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    I am the Fred referenced above. I should note though that Smile too has added a little clog in the process by insisting that apart from the N2,300 that’s meant for the SIM pack + 2GB data you also deposit 5,000 into your account for subsequent use. This means to get on board the network, the minimum entry cost is 7,500. This isn’t a great way of doing business but what do I know? Meanwhile the Spectranet SIM is actually FREE as you only pay any of their data plans to get it.

    • January 14, 2017 at 9:51 pm
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      Hello Fred,
      I lost my sim, although i still have a spectranet router. Do i stand a chance at another sim?? Thanks.

  • August 19, 2016 at 2:36 pm
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    But Mr Mo what is the average cost of the typical low budget 4G LTE phone with compatibility on all the 4G LTE frequencies in Nigeria, compared to the cost of say a mifi or router? This emphasis on 4G LTE providers must provide SIM cards seems on over drive. We need to balance the cost benefit analysis. Ntel will struggle as well even though they only give out SIM cards or impose some compatible phone on the average subscriber who probably has two phones already. We don’t have the numbers yet,it would be great to do a fact based analysis to check the impact of the different approaches to the market by these 4G LTE operators on subscriber acquisition and base. For now we can only engage in emotive analysis based on our different perceptions of which approach is right or wrong. Personally I’d prefer a mifi device than the headache of a sim card and a compatible 4G LTE phone. Do we all want our smartphones batteries draining faster as a wifi hotspot? Think about it…………………..

    • August 19, 2016 at 2:46 pm
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      There is no doubt that a system where the Subscriber is free to choose how he /she wants to join the network is better. Such is what ntel and smile (though more expensive SIM card) operate. With them you’re not compelled to purchase a device (that you may not need). You can use your own existing phone, MiFi or modem of they’re are compatible. Or you can choose to buy from the network. It’s your choice.
      Unlike Spectranet, where you are forced to purchase a device from them in order to get a SIM card.

  • December 30, 2016 at 1:52 pm
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    Curious, what version of Android is required for spectranet SIM cards to operate?

    • December 30, 2016 at 1:56 pm
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      None. It isn’t a question of the OS. It is a question of LTE frequency. The device must support the same LTE band that the network uses.

  • June 30, 2017 at 7:30 pm
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    I want to ask about the current status of things with getting a Spectranet SIM card. Has things changed?

    • July 1, 2017 at 7:20 am
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      Hi Rowland,

      As far as I can tell, the situation is still the same.

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