Can We Find 150 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria?

If you want to experience 150 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria, you may have to look away from 4G mobile wireless networks and be ready to spend that money.

I and a friend were having a conversation about Nigeria (as if that is anything novel; it is difficult not to talk about Nigeria). Anyway, our discussion touched on the problems of infrastructure (the lack of it), and I mentioned how after electricity, one of the pain points of living and working in Nigeria is crappy Internet.

He immediately replied that with us getting 150 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria, it couldn’t be that bad. Wait, what?1 I almost jumped out of my skin. 150 Mbps in Nigeria? Are we talking about the same Nigeria?

Note that we were discussing from the standpoint of mass market Internet services – basically mobile networks. I regularly run speed tests on Glo, Airtel and 9mobile, and Smile, and none of them deliver 100 Mbps, not to mention 150. Not even ntel 4G was able to deliver anything close to 150 Mbps in its hey days.

55 Mbps is the best download speed recorded on Ntel
55 Mbps is the best download speed recorded on ntel

I will not go into the basis of his assumption, but we discussed it at length and I was able to show him that 150 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria is a pipe dream for 98% of the population.

Even Google’s Free hotspot, Google Station, at Ikeja City Mall did not deliver anything close to 100 Mbps when it was active. If you have been to ICM in the last one month, you would have noticed that the hotspot has been AWOL. I keep wondering what happened to it.

98% of Internet coverage in Nigeria is from the following service providers:

On a smaller scale, you also have Spectranet, Swift, and Smile contributing a much smaller chunk to that percentage.

The other 2% is provided by those isolated ISPs that service no more than a few thousand subscribers each in big cities across the country. You might find one or two of those delivering 150 Mbps to corporate clients. But I bet you that none of the big players providing mass market wireless internet service are delivering anything close to 150 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria.

The average Internet speed in Nigeria

Let’s look at the average Internet speed you can expect to experience in Nigeria if you use on of these mass market services from mobile networks and wireless providers. Here are results from speed tests from two 4G mobile networks that I have run in the last two months:

  • 6 Mbps download / 5.2 Mbps upload / 29 ms ping – 25th April on Glo 4G
  • 28.8 Mbps download / 30.5 Mbps upload / 117 ms ping – 26th April on Glo 4G.
  • 5.5 Mbps download / 2.7 Mbps upload / 145 ms ping – 14th May on Airtel 4G.
  • 12.9 Mbps download / 3.1 Mbps upload / 36 ms ping – 14th May on Glo 4G.
  • 14.9 Mbps download / 260 Kbps upload / 143 ms ping – 16th May on Airtel 4G.

These figures are typical across all 4G mobile networks in Nigeria and still within range of average 2014 4G speeds in Lagos and New York.

The average internet speed in Nigeria (According to Speedtest April 2019)
The average internet speed in Nigeria (According to Speedtest April 2019)

The above figures are the average Internet speeds in Nigeria.

In other words, to experience 150 Mbps Internet speed in Nigeria, you will have to look away from 4G mobile networks like MTN, Airtel, 9mobile, Glo, Smile, Ntel, Spectranet, and Swift. Even after looking away from those, you will have to look really hard and be ready to go broke just to experience that kind of speed. Chances are that you are not Dangote or Otedola. And I doubt that your father is Adenuga. But you will be okay.

You will make do with what is available but must not give up the dream of better socio-economic infrastructure in Nigeria. We will dream and work towards uninterrupted power supply and affordable world-class Internet broadband in our homes and offices.

Do you run speed tests on your mobile service provider? What speed figures are you getting? Feel free to share your speed test results with us in the comments section below.

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