There’s a discussion thread over at Nairaland focussed on Z3, the Zain 3G service. The gist is that the Z3 service is officially restricted to

Z3 – Zain 3G – Limited to Post-Paid Plans Only?

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There’s a discussion thread over at Nairaland focussed on Z3, the Zain 3G service. The gist is that the Z3 service is officially restricted to post-paid (contract) plans, though it appears that some very few non-contract lines are able access it (a system glitch?).


In addition, if what the original poster says is true, Z3 coverage is wider than we had supposed, but the majority of Zain subscribers are unable to access it simply because the service is not activated on their SIMs.

I am not able to confirm this right away, but I will find hunt out the truth of this matter. I have held on to my Zain line this long in hope that 3G will show up in the picture sometime soon. If this bit of news is true, I may be replacing my SIM with one from another network.


As much as I have shied away from another line change, I am just not excited about having no 3G access for a long time to come.


Anyone here has access to a Zain official in the know?


Update: 20th August 2009
Dayo and I were at a Zain shop to ask about 3G service. We were able to confirm that Zain Nigeria’s official policy is that 3G service is available only on postpaid lines and data-only lines.

While the official I spoke with did his best to convince me to migrate to a contract package, I simply won’t. A GSM contract is always a bad idea.


I did purchase a data-only SIM to test out the official’s claim that Zain 3G is present in my area. Guess – it isn’t.


None of the above surprised Dayo, the eternal sceptic. Me? I really don’t care anymore.

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  2. Unlike overseas telecos,where online news sites can make enquires for an official/press statement from the company,about the matter, Zain doesn’t seem to have that ‘functionality’.

  3. So u guys come n discuss bout nairaland topics.
    Lol..thats funny.
    Am the owner of that thread,check out ma latest post. It may help u.

  4. IronHat Tantrum:
    One day a certain Nigerian, will come up with a complete solution to the problems ,headaches, and stress that these telecos cause people daily. A solution that will insidiously undermine these gimcky schemes&awkward policies that they(telecos) always come up with for customers.

    Anyways, I guess we now have to stick to the other operators huh ? The bright yellow one,the green one ,and the other pretty greenish-butterfly one..

  5. Dclique,

    Thanks for the advice, but no thanks.

    Why should I have to go and look for a network signal in a location where I neither work nor live? If I can’t get it in those locations it is useless.

  6. DClique,

    I was not sure what to make of your recommendation:

    Take the data sim to V.I lagos or ikeja,lagos n u wil get 3G

    I am not interested in where else 3G service may exist. If it does not exist where I need it, it is of no use to me. Surely, that makes sense.

  7. Zain does not even put the service’s full potential to good use. So it’s not even seen as a necessity to most (of their) users. All Zain seems to be thinking of,these days, is quick get-rich-make-profit schemes ,. not well-balanced plans and strategies. – what a complete fail -their 3G service is more of a (dead) joke than anything. .

  8. May be before the years runs out, it wil be provided in ur homezones,
    Cus 4da 1st time eva,i was able to get MTN 3g at ma crib.

  9. Anyone knows how fast Zain plus is (in kbps or mbps please) The info isn’t available on the Zain website

  10. device,

    Available speed depends on the coverage and congestion at your location.

    If GPRS is available, theoretical top speed is 115 Kbit/s, EDGE gives you a theoretical top speed of about 280 kbit/s, and 3G 384 kbit/s.

    Real-life speeds are significantly lower than these though.

  11. Thanks Yomi,
    I’ve gone through similar threads and see that 3.5G isn’t available on Zain where i live in Abuja. I think MTN is way to go. I understand their 3.5G covers everywhere the network does. Is this right?

  12. device,

    MTN certainly does not have 3G everywhere the network has coverage. They do have what is arguably the most extensive 3G coverage in the country.

  13. Arguably? MTN has the most extensive coverage in Nigeria. Period.
    Where there is no 3G, your phone switches to EDGE. I have used 3G in Lagos, Ibadan & Kaduna and used EDGE in Zaria. That is impressive.

  14. Oluniyi,

    I maintain that it is arguable, especially in the absence of statistics. In my experience and that of others, there seems to be little difference between 3G coverage on both networks.

    If we do lay our hands on hard facts, perhaps the argument would cease to exist 🙂

  15. Hi Yomi,
    I’ve tried different packages on Zain hoping to get 3G – I finally settled for WAP but still couldn’t get a decent connection because the problems on Zain are massive. The engineers in a Zain shop admitted it wasn’t the best of times for zain internet. I posted here and you told me that MTN had the most extensive 3g network so I’m giving it a try now on my nokia n95 8gb but i’m still getting ‘wap’ speeds. What can i do to get anything faster – gprs, edge, 3g or 33.5gb. Yomi you always know these things so i’m counting on you again!

  16. Device,

    One thing you can do is set your device to connect via 3G/3.5G only. In settings, check where there is the option to set the network to UMTS/3G only and choose that. Now you should be sure to get 3G speeds – with the proviso that a 3G siignalis present.

    Try that and let me know.

  17. I switched to UMTS and that automatically activated 3G and then….I get the message ‘data package not available’. I think then 3G is not available on MTN in my area (??) so I switch back to dual mode and the Edge symbol on my phone comes on but I can’t get beyond a meagre 115.2kbps speed. You reckon I should try glo next?

  18. Device,

    Yes; it seems that there is no 3G coverage at your location. Care to mention where this is?

    If you really need 3G speeds, yes; you may give Glo a try. But note that there are currently no data bundle plans on pre-paid. As such, you either browse at 15k per kb on pre-paid or opt for a contract.

    If you opt for a contract, remember that you are likely in for trouble, sooner or later.

  19. Hi Yomi
    While in Nigeria at the moment I’m residing in Abuja. I won’t be around long enough to sign for a contract and I know better that to get in that trouble (considering how difficult it is for customers in Nigeria to get access to customer service from providers). Much thanks!

  20. why is 3G service such a big deal for glo and zain? MTN remains the most data friendly network. MTN SIMS are pre-activated for data. just get the right settings on your device and you are good to go!

  21. I want to say that Glo has a wider coverage of 3g network than mtn, like in beiin and lagos, i noticed that mtn 3g networks weren’t available at all, but Glo was otherwise, Glo had 3g on almost all their mast in these 2 cities

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