The Dream of Unlimited Data

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Is unlimited data a dream?

Many people, myself inclusive, are still waiting for the time when unlimited data plans will be offered my mobile operators in Nigeria. By “unlimited data,” I mean an all-you-can-eat plan without speed and reliability issues.

This sadly is not looking possible looking at factors and trends as stated below.

The high cost of operation and lack of security and related challenges are what network operators in Nigeria have to deal with. The four major operators in Nigeria were recently fined by the Nigerian Communications commission for poor quality of service. That in my opinion is just propaganda and does not address the real issues on ground.

With the lack of stable public power supply in the country, mobile operators spend billions of Naira monthly powering base stations around the country. Then there are the regular acts of vandalism that occur, further compounding the situation. Who bears the brunt of these issues? Subscribers. Simple.

3G mobile internet services have been available since 2001 but here we are in Nigeria in 2012, we are still battling with reliability. Sure there has been improvements, but we have a long way to go.

Then there is the fact that on the global scene, the cost of bandwidth and increasing demand on networks is producing a lockdown on unlimited data plans.

In the United States where 4G speeds are already being deployed, unlimited data services are beginning to fizzle out. For example, Verizon Wireless, the country’s largest CDMA provider has stopped offering unlimited data. The same trend is observable in other areas around the world.

Some ISPs in Nigeria especially Lagos used to provide unlimited data service, but have also resorted to cutting down on it. Examples are Mobitel and most recently Swift who have stopped offering unlimited monthly data services.

Considering that I finish my monthly 6GB data allocation in a matter of days, you can imagine that unlimited internet is something that I’ll continue to wish for.

Whether or not it ever sees the light of day is a different matter entirely.


  1. Unlimited data is something I earnestly yearn for. 6 GB/month is just not enough for me, as I download a lot. I’ve downloaded all three beta releases of windows8 (about 3.5 GB each) this year, and I download many videos and programs relating to my course of study too.

    Cdma networks would have been my best choice for more data per unit cost, but they are performing poorly in Nigeria.

  2. Even if things are properly done here in Nigeria, the undersea fiber optic cables that handle the data traffic generated from Nigeria and other African countries have finite bandwidths and I believe we need by far more undersea fiber optic cables to connect to other parts of the world.

    Remember that whereas the bandwidth or data allowance for regular GSM mobile data connections in most of the western nations is being throttled, there regular cable networks and other fixed connection options are not limited in most cases and are very cheap in comparison to mobile connections.

  3. “Considering that I finish my monthly 6GB data allocation in a matter of days…”

    What is heaven are you smoking? Really on the high side, if you ask me! 🙂 I use 4GB per month max. But I’d appreciate much greater data allowance from our carriers. The CDMA operators have an awful service, so no going there for me.

    However, I think the panancea should’ve have been fixed Line/fixed broadband. To complement the mobile Broadband services. It appears that we rely too much on mobile in Nigeria. That in itself is a bad thing. And also, apart from Lagos, you do not see ISPs in other parts of the country to complement mobile Internet.

    what happened to Glo’s promises? The second national carrier for fixed landline, fibre optic broadband. At least in the US, they have alternatives. In Nigeria there is none. Most of us rely solely on Mobile.

    That ought to change!

  4. Considering that I finish my monthly 6GB data allocation in a matter of days, you can imagine that unlimited internet is something that I’ll continue to wish for.

    This may just be the crux of the matter. We tend to waste anything we have in abundance.

    I feel our networks can all offer unlimited data BUT with attendant cost. If you have capped data, and you finish it up prematurely, all you have to do is purchase more! So, we actually all have unlimited data. It is all about your cash.

    Conclusively, I do not feel it is practicable to have a blanket unlimited data cap for a fixed price. Pay for what you use. The network can reward you with discount, based on volume of data used per month

  5. @ eye_bee_kay

    dont tell me glenda finally won, you have now switched to an Android device, lol.
    we would be expecting your review and comparism to your nokia 5800.
    up up glenda 😀

  6. Oh! Looks like Glenda finally convinced EyeBeeKay to try Android. Rotfl. Interesting.

    I’ve always said that I’m a fan of Glenda. ThaT wasn’t an easy fit!

    Now what’s left is for EyeBeeKay to try WP8 and iOS too!

  7. No, Glenda didn’t convince him to try Android, she cajoled him into leaving dead Symbian and if you value freedom, when leaving a platform that was as versatile and capable as Symbian was, the natural and better alternative is simply Android.

    I once said he would be singing a new song once he is disabused of the illusion that is Symbian and lay his hands on an Android device. You are now free from the bondage of Symbian and a born again mobile enthusiast.

    Welcome to the Android world Eye.Bee.Kay and let the rapturous songs begin. Amen!

  8. What makes u think eyebeekay is now on Android just cos he commented using an Android phone. I have a helping his not on it. Just testing a friends own our something

  9. @Shayman:

    What makes u think eyebeekay is now on Android just cos he commented using an Android phone. I have a helping his not on it. Just testing a friends own our something

    You are probably right but I know a number of people who came feeling Android with bias against Android but got hooked eventually. Let’s watch and see if Eye.Bee.Kay survives the feeling he would get from this and that’s taking his bias against Android into consideration.

  10. I use up Etisalat’s 6GB (which is actually 7987MB) in 3 weeks. Really, unlimited data may not be feasible, and will continue to be a mirage. Even networks in US are moving away from unlimited data (as was captured in the article).
    It should be enough to reduce the cost per unit especially as the volume increases (much more than is presently practiced).

  11. I consume at least 300GB of data per month. Even in the US, there is no such thing us “unlimited data.” Well I guess there is, but your bandwidth will be throttled.


    Please return the phone to its owner. Why are you trying an Android device? Are you curious as to what the fuzz is all about? Do not worry, Android is not better than Symbian. Symbian is not better than Android. What I can tell you is this: Any Android phone made this year is better than your 5800. So the moral of the story is – The 5800 was good in 2008, get a new phone!

  12. I’m also a heavy user,but not up to 300GB a month.I’ve downloaded over 6GB a day,one time,that’s when the need arises,i’ve used more than 30GB in one month.I also wish unlimited will be available someday in Nigeria,by a network provider or cable network operator,but it’s only a wish.

  13. Spectranet does offer unlimited data. I am currently subscribed to their network and it’s fair cos I am not on the highest speed rate plan I’m on the 512kbs plan and get (regular) maximum download speed of 46-50KBs . When I went to one of their offices to purchase a modem the lady that attended to me told me if I download too much they will cut me off, I responded by saying then get ready to be sued. Anyway, I have been using a minimum of 1.5GB daily so I think that’s fair enough considering we are don’t have constant power supply in Nigeria cos I would have been clocking 4GB daily or more. Care to know what I do ? I just watch TV online, connect the laptop to the TV through HDMI .. voila ! who needs dstv ! Don’t need any dstv subscription or viewing center to watch Euro 2012 I just watch online. I am waiting for spectranet to cut me off, they might just making me famous.

  14. I think it will be wise if our network operators increase the internet datas per subscription.. imagine a blackberry user having 3GIG worth of data for #1400 in 30 days while outside the BIS plan someone gets 250mb plus for #1300…. Mheeeeen this is killing me…. More reason why am gona get a blackberry soon… But honestly this is pure oppression… Well its ma opinion sha…

  15. @ Austine ,
    These guys are scammers “FUP applicable on plans where Data Cap limit is not defined”

    They gotta be kidding me !!! arrgghhh!! I’m throwing a tantrum !!!
    Why did they choose to use the “unlimited” word instead of just using “10GB!
    This is a scam , what’s going on in this country ?? what’s unlimited about 10GB ?

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