2016 has been a good year for mobile telecommunication in Nigeria with network providers cutting prices on internet data subscription, and charming users with loads of bonuses and bundles. Data bundles have always been quite expensive for Nigeria’s youthful population, so slashing prices became the new bait for catching new subscribers. Still on improving the quality of communication services in the country, Nigeria’s major network providers are now taking turns to roll-out 4G LTE service on their different networks. This is a huge milestone for Nigeria’s telecoms industry which before now had solely relied on the 3G/UMTS technology – a standard that is now struggling to cope with the needs of today’s data-hungry users.
4G LTE is currently the fastest network standard for mobile telecommunications, reaching speeds of about 1 gigabit per second, and a peak of at least 100 megabits per second on mobile devices. It is also said to be as much as 10 times faster than the prevalent 3G network. 4G stands for fourth generation, i.e. fourth generation of mobile data technology. LTE stands for “Long Term Evolution” and is a technology that acts to enhance wireless broadband speeds to meet increasing demand.
4G LTE brings a lot of improvements over the 3G network. Users will enjoy amazing upload and download speeds on their mobile devices and PCs. Browsing the internet will be hassle-free as web pages will load in a flash and one can also watch HD videos on YouTube or follow a live video stream without the usual network breaks. 4G LTE also offers better voice quality when making calls because the 4G network is an IP (internet protocol) based network, whereas previous versions of cellular networks were all circuit switched, and as such, poor quality phone calls were prevalent. Also with an IP-based network, unified communications and collaboration will become more common and we’ll expect to see companies adopting telepresence and video conferencing as good communication options for their business.
Internet service providers like Swift, Spectranet, Smile, ipNX and Ntel, have been providing 4G service to their users before the major Telcos joined in the party. But the 4G network is still limited in its reach and is mostly available in major cities like Lagos, Abuja, and Port-Harcourt. MTN, Etisalat, and GLO have announced 4GLTE availability on their respective networks, but Airtel seems to be taking its time before it launches its own 4G service.
To enjoy 4G LTE service, you first need a phone that supports the 4G network along with the required network bands – BAND 20 (800MHz), and BAND 7 (2600MHz). Networks like MTN and GLO will require that you purchase the new sim cards that are compatible with the 4G service before you can access the network, meanwhile, Etisalat users can go ahead and enjoy the service as their sim cards are 4G ready.
The substantial growth in Nigeria’s telecoms industry will definitely lead to a boost in creativity and productivity in the country both for businesses, and especially for the Nigerian youths. With the proficiencies of the 4G LTE network, people can now access content on the internet faster and easier for their own personal development and that of the society too. We can only wait and see what the future holds.