Fastest Telecom Operator In Nigeria – Reliability test

Broadband internet spread in Nigeria has successively been accelerating year on, given the youthful percentage of subscribers in the country. In a general purview, internet network is accessible to majority of Nigerians. However, at what speed is this offered to them? This begs the question: Which is the fastest telecom operator in Nigeria, among the renown four.

Fastest Telecom Operator In Nigeria

The issue of network speed has over the years been a basis of discourse among internet subscribers. The faster the speed, the more efficient an internet user becomes. Inversely, the laggy the connection is, the more inefficient an internet experience is. Therefore due to this, the four main telecom networks in the country viz: MTN, Globacom, Airtel and 9mobile, are on a regular duty of updating their infrastructure to meet the desired speeds needed by the subscribers. This healthy competition between these brands centered on providing the most reliable network has been quite favourable to the end users.

Back in 2016, in a bid to bolster it’s network speed, Globacom Nigeria introduced 4G connectivity to the country’s broadband market. The three other competing brands readily followed suit, with the 9mobile brand being the latest to introduce it’s 4G services. With the introduction of 5G across various developing nations, telcos in the country have also shown commitment towards bringing it into the country. 2020 was slated to be the year in which 5G would be wholly established in the country, however that hope seems distant given the health situation worldwide.

We take a cursory overview on telecom broadband latency in Nigeria.
It should be noted that despite the lauded achievements and strides by major operators in the country, mobile telecom network speed is generally poor relative to speeds recorded outside the country. This means that the 3G or 4G speeds signified might not practically be so in Nigeria.

The reliabilty test – The operator with the best data value

We begin our review by scrutinising the data value across operating brands. When considering network speed, you need to simultaneously consider the data cap offered. Imperative it is because a snappier connection speed leads to a relative mobile data exhaustion.

Fastest Telecom Operator In Nigeria - Glo data is oxygen

Without any doubt, Globacom Nigeria offers the most affordable mobile data in Nigeria. Checkout the detailed list of Glo data plans. Followed distantly is the self-acclaimed ‘best 3G network‘ in Airtel Nigeria. The Airtel internet bundles are the second cheapest in the country! Coming a near third is MTN Nigeria. The telecom operator has the widest network in Nigeria, but sadly hasn’t celebrated this feat with an unmatched data value. Checkout MTN Nigeria revised data plans.

The least favourable data packages are the ones from 9mobile. Since it’s name and leadership change due to dept crisis, the telecom operator has been on a downward trajectory, losing good numbers of subscribers monthly. The 9mobile data offerings could be visited here.

Fastest Telecom Operator In Nigeria — 2G & 3G reliability and speed

Airtel claims it has the widest 3G network in the country, however, the claim could be doubted. In several locations in south southern part of the country, my personal experiences with these providers shows that MTN Nigeria still bosses over other telcos with the best 2G and 3G coverage.

Fastest Telecom Operator In Nigeria - telecom masts

Airtel also has performed no worst to deny itself of acclaim, as it’s network together with those of MTN connected timely. In some selected location (mostly urban regions), Globacom’s 3G connectivity scores impressive. However, it’s 2G network is abysmally ineffective.

9mobile offers effective broadband network, but sadly only in few locations. In a nutshell, both MTN and Airtel telecom operators could boast of a practically effective 2G and 3G network with considerable coverage. It should be noted that the above reviews are personal, obtained from scores of location in South Southern Nigeria. Nevertheless, these personal evidences to a certain degree reflect congenially with the experiences shared by users in other locations.

Fastest telecom operator in Nigeria – 4G

Reeling from the success of it’s 3G service countrywide, Airtel Nigeria launched it’s 4G network in 2018. The ‘3G is good, 4G is better‘ promotional by the company has been effective in selling off it’s 4G service, however, do they really offer the most reliable 4G network?

Possibly, no.

For most months after Airtel’s launch of the 4G, despite the subsequent similar launches by other operators, Airtel Nigeria had quite an appealing coverage of 4G. Things seems changed now, with the telco industry being overwhelmingly overtaken by the MTN brand.

MTN Nigeria records excellent 4G connection in urban areas, although in a personal experience, the speed doesn’t really match the generation of network signified. Notwithstanding, the telecom network proved the most reliable in areas personally visited (this might not be true for your location though), while Globacom follows in a near distant.

Glo 4G

Globacom’s 4G service is commendable, given that in areas of it’s coverage, it’s reliability is perfect even with low signal strength. The indigenous operator in October, 2016, become the first network in Nigeria to debut the 4G LTE service. According to the brand, it also became the first to launch a nationwide 4G LTE network, purportedly offering ‘instant efficient broadband internet to millions of Nigerians‘.

Globacom uses the 700MHz frequency band to operate it’s 4G service. 9mobile with it’s 1800MHz frequency band operates in just fewer locations (less than a score of cities). Reviews from users in such location shows that the telecom operator is reliable there.

A 4G report by Enextgen Wireless Limited gives more insight

A recent report by a telecom service firm, Enextgen Wireless Limited, aimed at outlining the coverage quality of 4G LTE in Nigeria, seems to align with the above assertion of the 4G service situation in the country.

The report was farmed from locations where 4G services are at peak: Victoria Island (VI) and Lekki Phase 1 in Lagos.

According to the report, all four major mobile network operators in the country viz: MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9mobile, provide excellent 4G signal coverage (signal strength). Of the four, 9Mobile is reported to being the network with the strongest coverage (signal strength). The report also alleges that the MTN operator alone provides coverage quality that is typical for such good signal strength.

9mobile, the report went on to reveal, dented it’s good signal coverage record, as the reviewers rated it’s signal quality as appalling particularly in Victoria Island.

The expectant 5G that might never debut till 2023

The 5G generation of wireless broadband purposes to make communication between intelligent devices much easier and efficient. A common example is in the electric vehicle – to – an intelligent traffic control post. Communication between these two at an ideal 5G transmission latency of 1milliseconds (human reacts to stimulus at an average speed of 250 milliseconds) provides a speedier intelligent mechanism.

That’s quite fascinating, right?

5G implementation may sound all rosy, however Mobile network operators would need to offset the drawbacks. MNOs will need new spectrum in the range of 6 to 300 GHz and this would require exhaustive developments in their network infrastructure. That’s not all, base stations (telecom masts) need to be connected one to the other using optical fibers. This daunting task is necessary for the network to reach the 1ms typical 5G latency goal.

Fastest Telecom Operator In Nigeria - 5G

In a trial by MTN Nigeria in November 2019 at it’s Abuja regional office, speeds of about 1Gbps were achieved. The first 5G trial in West Africa was possible with partnership with Huawei. In use was Huawei 5G-enabled devices and the 5G spectrum provided by the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) for operators to run trials. Similar tests were also conducted in Lagos and Calabar in partnership with Ericsson and ZTE respectively.


According to a projection by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), only seven African countries, with Nigeria included, will have commercial 5G services by 2025. Presently, only South Africa and Lesotho have a publicly launched 5G network in Africa.

The cameo appearance of the 5G in Nigeria left many trilled by the test speed, however MNO’s have relayed how unlikely it is to launch the network soon in the country, given the works left to be done with 4G. According to CEO of MTN Group, Rob Shuter, many countires are not ready for the fifth-generation network. “What we are doing now is to learn from the technology and get our network ready for it but I think 3G is much more relevant in most of our markets“.

With most internet users in Nigeria and Africa as a whole living within the low & medium income range, the possibility of them purchasing expensive 5G devices might not be realistic, damping the chances of 5G development in the region, consequently.

Fastest Telecom Operator In Nigeria — In Conclusion

Judgementally, MTN Nigeria by virtue of it’s wide spread, offers the best general broadband service. It is the only telecom operator in the country that has spurred intent in the actualization of the 5G in the country.

Experiences of the different telecom network differs with location. To this end, you might gladly need a personal though necessary advice, at least to be on a safe side: Avail yourself with more than one browsing broadband network to enjoy an smooth internet experience even while travelling.

You can individually test your network connection speed at our Speedtest tools webpage. It should be noted that your mobile data would be engaged in the analysis.

In all Nigerians deserve better network speed than the current charade witnessed in major locations in the country.


A potential electrical/electronics engineer in the making, a phone addict and a motivating partner.While he's not researching through with his phone, Daniel spends his time with the books.★ Fav. quote: The habit of persistence is the habit of victory! ★

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