LTE Deployment in Nigeria.
Many Nigerian cities and some rural areas now have LTE coverage from one or more of the major network operators, Globacom, MTN, Airtel, and 9Mobile.
We continue to provide the public as well as interested network operators a level of visibility into the quality of LTE access in the country. This remains very important as mobile networks remain the primary source of internet access in the country. For small businesses, particularly those with international contacts, the quality of internet access can be a deciding factor between surviving and thriving. Independent reporting of the quality of these networks provides the operators with additional incentive to maintain or improve the quality of their networks.
End of year review
We are grateful to the following
- Network operators who have helped us enhance our services. These include, in descending order of the significance of their contribution:
- NCC for providing input and guidance that led to our development of a unique and most appropriate platform
for monitoring and enhancing mobile broadband networks in Nigeria.
As the largest, it is not strange that MTN might be too important to be concerned about the quality ordinary Nigerian customers receive from its 4G LTE network. We have been sharing our findings with MTN directly in addition to publishing them. Notwithstanding, we have observed continued degradation of the quality of MTN’s 4G LTE networks in key regions. We too suffer through the abhorrent quality of the 4G LTE network offered by MTN, as it still edges out the quality offered by its competitors.
Unpredictable outrageous quantities of packet losses, not attributable to RF quality, occur far too often in 4G LTE networks in Nigeria. This is the one area where MTN’s performance continues to be better than others, despite its continued degradation. If Airtel matches MTN in this area, it might have a basis to claim to offer best 4G LTE service in Nigeria. It currently leads in downlink throughput.
Bottom of the pyramid view of the quality of 4G LTE in Nigeria
- We find the quality of 4G LTE in Nigeria to be horrendous.
- Hardly does a day go by without us experiencing disruption in the use of MTN network to hold intelligible voice communication in Microsoft Teams in our offices.
- This seems to have correlation with the extremely high rate of packet losses and high latencies.
- We tried other networks with even less success.
- Even at this user experience level, MTN appears to be the best.
- Is MTN not aware of these packet losses (drops)?
- Is the NCC not aware?
- As much as we would like to join in celebrating with the NCC, we cannot pretend that the poor quality of experience we suffer daily in 4G LTE networks is a mirage.
We have made it easy for those interested to see the quality of 4G LTE networks being offered by the four major network operators. One can identify the network that is likely to offer the best service at a particular location or locations where a particular network operator offers good coverage quality. Interested network operators can use the information for improving the quality of their networks. The information is not simple painting of “4G Coverage” with bars, that lack minimum details required for coverage quality improvement, that are found in most coverage maps offered by global organizations. Instead, it provides pointers to key quality indicators that can be used to improve coverage quality. It addresses the unique needs of the Nigerian market, not just generic global and rather deceptive signal strength indicated by bars or numbers without context.
NIWBQR: National Independent Wireless Broadband Quality Reporting
The reports are based on the ranking of the quality of the physical link of broadband LTE service provided by the four major mobile network operators. We subscribe to the broadband LTE service of each operator. We establish sessions of small data packet transmission for measurement of latency and continuous data transmission to and reception from the same FTP server located in the United States. We use our proprietary logging tool (Enextlog) for collecting UE logs and our proprietary platform (Premetrics) for post-processing the UE logs in other to create NIWBQR reports and perform analysis for other purposes. We assign rating numbers to the key quality indicators of each network connection, indicators such as Emetrics (RF Quality), time spent on LTE, downlink throughput, packet latency and uplink throughput . We rank the networks first to fourth in the highest (1st) to lowest order (4th).
The above link shows our NIWBQR benchmarking reports that compare various attributes of the four major 4G LTE networks in other to rank them according to our ranking criteria. A visit to this website will show that MTN ranked highest in our last evaluation of 4G LTE in Yaba, for example.
This website shows, in addition to the reports available from our public Emetrics, additional information that allows any of the four major network operators – MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9Mobile, interested in tracking the quality of their 4G LTE networks as seen by their customer mobile devices, to register with us for a free access account. At the website, the MNO can determine for any bin, the characteristics of the RF signal as well as customer experience with respect to throughput and latency. For a fee, we can provide the raw data for the evaluated period, allowing the network operators access to additional resources for troubleshooting.
This website is free to the public. It shows the quality of the 4G LTE networks of the four major national mobile network operators. It shows throughput and packet latency for the last evaluation of every bin. Any interested individual in Nigeria can contribute to the data source. Kindly register your interest on our website and we will contact you.
- MTN provides poor 4G LTE networks in Nigeria even though they are the best available in many key areas.
- We ask MTN and other network operators in Nigeria to use our platform and services to improve the quality of their LTE (later, 5G) networks for the benefit of ordinary human beings and small enterprises.
- Mobile networks play more indispensable roles for reliable internet connectivity in Nigeria than many other countries. The effort required to minimize packet losses and improve user experience will pay much dividend in increased productive access to the internet.
View the full report here