LTE – Long Term Evolution – is considered by many to be the obvious successor to the current generation of UMTS 3G technology and delivers a theoretical maximum download speed of 37.5 mbps. Compare that to the 21 mbps theoretical top speed that current HSPA+ (3.75G) networks offer and you have an idea of the improvements in speed that LTE delivers.
Here is a quick run-down of the operators who have been granted LTE licenses in Nigeria.
Airtel has been around since thee dawn of GSM mobile services in Nigeria and currently provides mobile internet spanning GPRS, EDGE, 3G, 3.5G and 3.75G technologies.
Etisalat is the youngest of the existing four GSM based operators, but are no pushovers in the mobile internet field. They also currently provide mobile internet spanning GPRS, EDGE, 3G, 3.5G and 3.75G technologies.
The only indigenous GSM-based operator, Glo catalysed the switch to packet data with the introduction of GPRS in Nigeria, and they currently also offer internet spanning GPRS, EDGE, 3G, and 3.5G technologies. In what turned to be pure marketing bullshit, Glo claimed to launch a 4G/LTE network back in January 2011.
MTN Nigeria kicked off the GSM race in Nigeria alongside Airtel (then ECONET). The network currently provides mobile internet spanning GPRS, EDGE, 3G, and 3.5G technologies.
Smile Communications is a new entrant in the Nigerian mobile broadband space. Smile currently runs LTE networks in South Africa, Congo, Uganda and Tanzania, and have obtained a license to offer LTE here in Nigeria.
Starcomms is an old player around here. Originally licensed to operate CDMA services, a current restructuring has seen teh Starcomms brand swallow up the assets of MTS First Wireless and Multilinks, and dumping its CDMA heritage entirely to focus on 4G LTE broadband.
As it stands, subscribers will be spoilt for choice when it comes to LTE mobile broadband. Now that you have all the details, you can only wait to see how it will all play out. The question on everyone’s lips is, When is the first 4G LTE network in Nigeria launching? No; not the sort of ghost “launch” that Globacom pulled in 2011.