A lot of dust was generated recently when Airtel gave notice that it was shutting out non-BlackBerry users from its very affordable BIS plan. Since

The dream of affordable mobile broadband

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Mobile Broadband

A lot of dust was generated recently when Airtel gave notice that it was shutting out non-BlackBerry users from its very affordable BIS plan. Since that time, a lot of attention has been drawn to Etisalat’s generous BlackBerry Complete plan which works for non-BlackBerry users.

Whatever the sentiments about BlackBerry Internet Service plans, there is no arguing that affordable mobile broadband will be a game changer in a country like Nigeria, and indeed across all of Africa. By affordable, I mean dirt cheap. Something that almost any subscriber can afford on a monthly basis.

A generic data plan that provides 3GB data for N1,000 only is affordable, in my opinion. Imagine the bliss of being able to browse any website, watch any video, stream music without fear, and download software updates without the fear of ending up with a huge hole in your pocket. Consider the bliss of knowing that should you exhaust your 3GB data allocation, with a quick reload of N1,000, you are back online.

In addition to the above, imagine being able to do all the above at speeds of 2Mbps and above. Steady. Consistent. Affordable mobile broadband for subscribers. This is my dream. Back in June, I wrote that 3GB mobile internet data for N1,000 was on the way. I still believe that it is.

While it can be argued that it is here already, the truth is that as long as the average subscriber cannot get official help in configuration and support, it is largely a geek-fest. This means that only people who understand technical matters will be able to use it. Which network will bell the cat and officially announce a generic 3GB data plan for N1,000? I have a dream.

  1. Before anyone subscribes for the Etisalat 3GB for #1100, ensure that the etisalat sim is strictly data and not for voice calls, else #100 would automatically be deducted daily.

  2. I really don’t think data plans will get that cheap in the nearest future. I’m looking at a 1 GB plan for 1500-2000 first, then later 1 GB for 1000. as per who will bell the cat, it’s anyone’s game really, but I suspect it’ll be glo or etisalat. glo is the reason why BIS plans are this cheap, and etisalat is looking for ways to extend their footprint. airtel have always been reactionary rather than visionary, and MTN, well MTN is MTN. they own the market, status quo favors them, no need to bend over backwards

  3. Time was, when non_BlackBerry. Users spent N1,000 to get 100 – 200 MB or so, of data, for a month.

    When Airtel made it possible to use their BB plan on non BlackBerry devices, doling out 1,2JigaBytes for a mere N1,200, the masses rejoiced.

    With Etisalat allowing 3Jigas for N1,000 for everybody, the excitement is turbocharged.

    From experience, it would appear that the more data allowance available, the more our data needs expand to fill it.

    It is Parkinson Law, and human nature.

    When I first had access to 1 JigaByte monthly on airtel, for N1,000, I told myself I would not be able to finish the data allowance monthly. Alas, it is now a struggle to make the 1Jig last a month.

    As stated in the article, more available data simply means you can do more. I wouldn’t ordinarily install an app like Stumbleupon for Android (it’s wicked on data) , but with 3Gig now from Etisalat , why not.?

    Torrents, Streaming and voIP calls are now in the realm of easy possibility.

    Let’s hope that, where Airtel chickened out, Etisalat will continue to turn two blind eyes on this option.

    Meanwhile, it’s a matter of time. The networks will eventually support more data for less money. Officially.

    And my money is on Glo, the Disruptor, to do it first, officially ..

  4. @Jay Baba: What I think it means is that you should ensure you don’t leave any airtime on the line, otherwise N100 will be deducted everyday cos of the daily plan that had to be activated as well. The deduction will continue until you opt out.

    I only hope Etisalat will continue to turn a blind eye to this cos personally, I have resolved never to do any of the regular data plans. I mean, what rubbish is N3,500 for 1.5GB? Once this is over, I’ll just jejely go back to my regular Blackberry complete. No stories!

  5. @Jay Baba all SIM cards are optimised for both data and voice. What I meant was ensure that your SIM wasn’t your primary line for voice calls, as 100 naira would be deducted daily

  6. @3rd World Techie
    Globacom has started it already, “My Phone” data plan from glo now is 800MB @ N2,000 valid for 30 days.

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