In 2017, LTE service went from being scarce in Nigeria, available only from one primary service provider (Smile) and a few other small providers (E*stream and others), to being available from all but one (Airtel) major service providers, in some limited areas, in a wide distribution of cities in different parts of the country.
By the end of 2017, Glo, MTN, NTEL and 9Mobile had deployed LTE in Lagos Island, Victoria Island, parts of Lagos mainland, substantial part of Abuja, some areas in Benin and possibly other parts of the country.
Enextgen tested the quality of RF deployment in each of these markets. This report provides some general comments on our findings.
We based our rankings on a measure of the quality of RF deployment that takes into account weighted averages of failure events (Connection Establishment Failures and Connection Drops), latency, throughput, throughput distribution and consistency of LTE coverage along the evaluated routes.
As shown in Table 1 above, Glo had the best rank in Victoria Island, Lagos Island and Benin. Glo had the best RF coverage in every cluster tested. MTN had the best rank in Abuja, Ikeja and Lagos Mainland but the worst in Victoria Island and Lagos Island. Smile was ranked highest only in Ikeja. It used to be best in Lagos Island but the quality of its network there had degraded since the last time it was tested. The highest ranking for 9Mobile was Third and this was only in Benin. Highest ranking for Ntel was Third and this was in Abuja, Ikeja and Victoria Island.
LAGOS ISLAND AND VICTORIA ISLAND IN LAGOS
Every service provider appears to put its best foot forward in Lagos Island and Victoria Island. Every Service Provider had good LTE coverage with Glo offering best coverage and quality of RF deployment. There was a wide variation in RF deployment quality among the other networks, with each of them having some level of RF deployment deficiencies.
Table 2: The Table shows some KPIs of the SPs for the Victoria Island Drive Route
The quality of RF deployment was very bad in all of the networks evaluated. None of the networks appeared to have paid attention to basic RF deployment engineering quality in this area.
MTN stood out as having the best RF deployment quality.
Glo had the best RF coverage. However, along with the others, it had sub-optimal RF quality of deployment.
LTE service was available from Glo and Smile only, as of September 2017. The quality of RF deployment was poor in both networks.
Progress is being made in providing LTE coverage in Nigeria. Glo is most aggressive in this regard. However, there is substantial need to address the quality of the deployments. While overall low data throughputs may be partially attributed to limited spectrum allocations, basic pre-deployment RF performance engineering needs to improve. Glo has done a very good job on Victoria Island and Lagos Island and is ranked best in these two areas. Furthermore, no other service provider provided the same level of service in any of the routes we covered as Glo provided in VI and Lagos Island. However, Glo’s packet latency is too high even in these two areas. Glo needs to improve this key metric in order to substantially improve the perception of the quality of its LTE network. All service providers need to reduce the number of failure events, latency and improve general RF deployment quality.