If you have lived in this country for any significant period of time, you must have experienced what I call “ISP blues”. Basically, that means you must have been disappointed by epileptic internet services at some point in time or the other. In all likelihood, you must have toyed with the idea of changing service providers too.
One of the dilemma of changing ISPs here is that you are not so sure if the new guys you are considering cover your present location, and if service there is reliable.
When I first wrote my article, Mobile Data: Bridging The Internet Divide In Africa, back in 2005 (also re-published here on Mobility in 2008), one of the factors that I considered in making some of the forecasts that I did is the flexibility attached to GSM-based mobile services.
Permit me to explain how that plays out in this scenario.
You want to subscribe to a new service that is CDMA-based. There is no way to determine availability and/or reliability in your area. For the most part, the ISP themselves do not have accurate information on this either.
If you do not have a neighbour who uses that service in the same vicinity, you are effectively at the mercy of fate.
If you were considering a GSM-based service, however, you could simply purchase a SIM for N150, register it, put it in any internet-enabled phone lying around, load just N1,000 and activate a 100MB data plan and use that to test the service.
If you are not satisfied, simply repeat the process with another service provider. If/when satisfied, you can then splurge out more cash on a modem or mifi device for PC use. Of course, if your phone has a built-in modem or Wi-Fi hotspot, you can retain the SIM in your phone.
This sort of flexibility, alongside other factors, make GSM-based internet connectivity very appealing for a wide range of users.