This page provides useful information about mobile technology in general and mobile networks and services in Nigeria, more specifically.
Mobile Networks in Nigeria: April 2014
- MTN – GSM/UMTS/HSDPA networks; DVB-H – 58,355,855 active subscribers – www.mtnonline.com
- Airtel – GSM/UMTS/HSDPA networks – 25,475,672 active subscribers – www.ng.airtel.com
- GloMobile – GSM/UMTS/HSDPA networks; DVB-H – 24,015,713 active subscribers – www.gloworld.com
- Etisalat – GSM network – 19,111,664 active subscribers – www.etisalat.com.ng
- Visafone – CDMA/EVDO networks – 2,004,010 active subscribers – www.visafone.com.ng
- Multilinks – CDMA/EVDO networks – 35,381 active subscribers – www.multilinks.com
Total Active Mobile Lines: April 2014
- GSM: 126,958,904
- CDMA: 2,256,612
Total Mobile Internet Subscriptions
There are an estimated 10+ million smartphones in use in Nigeria, broken down in the following ratio:
BlackBerry OS: 30%
Android OS: 50%
History of Mobile in Nigeria
The first mobile cellular services began in 1993 with Mtel, but was elitist and restricted in every way. Later, other CDMA operators offered limited mobile phone services as a small segment of their bouquet of services.
Widespread mobile services however took off in August 2001 when Airtel Nigeria (then ECONET Wireless) launched the first commercial GSM services in Nigeria. In a few years, Nigeria was toasted everywhere as one of the fastest-growing mobile markets in the world. Nigeria has since overtaken South Africa to become Africa’s largest mobile market. MTN launched right after. In August 2003, Glo commenced operations, and Etisalat joined the GSM party in December 2009.
GPRS in Nigeria
As part of its 1st Anniversary celebration, Glo Mobile launched GPRS based services on August 29th, 2004.
3G in Nigeria
In 2007, four applicants were successful in obtaining a 10MHz lot each in the 2GHz band for third generation (3G) mobile services. The successful operators were:
- Alheri Engineering. Later sold license to Etisalat
- Celtel Nigeria (now Airtel)
- MTN Nigeria Communications
In early 2008, GloMobile launched the first commercial 3G service on their UMTS/HSPA network, followed closely by MTN. Alheri later sold their 3G license to Etisalat Nigeria, which rolled out their service in 2011.
Mobile TV in Nigeria
At the moment, only MTN and GloMobile offer mobile TV (DVB-H) services in the country. They both have Dstv Mobile service available to subscribers with type handsets.
Active 4G LTE Networks in Nigeria
- Smile 4G – 800 MHz band. Commercial services were launched in February 2013
- Spectranet – 2300 MHz band
- Swift 4G – Spectrum info unavailable
Mobile Internet Settings
If you ever need to manually configure your mobile for web browsing, here are settings for Nigerian networks.
- Account Name: MTN GPRS
- Access Point Name (APN): web.gprs.mtnnigeria.net
- Username: web
- Password: web
- IP Address: 10.199.212.2
- Port: 9201 (for WAP) or 8080 (for HTML)
- Account Name: Airtel Mobile Internet
- Access Point Name (APN): internet.ng.airtel.com
- Username: internet (or blank)
- Password: internet (or blank)
- IP Address: none
- Port: none
- Account Name: Glo High Speed Internet
- Access Point Name (APN): gloflat
- Username: flat
- Password: flat
- IP Address: none
- Port: none
- Account Name: Etisalat
- Access Point Name (APN): etisalat
- Username: none
- Password: none
- IP Address: none
- Port: none
- Server IP: 192.168.165.201
- Server Port: 8080
- Server Dial: #777 (optional on some phones)
- Login Name: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Password: wap
Mobile In General
The mobile phone has evolved from a voice apparatus to a multi-functional device that offers increasingly sophisticated applications. No other device has come close to the sophistication, the versatility and the power of the mobile phone.
Convergent technologies have now combined the mobile phone and various services – web, email, mobile TV, FM radio, card reader, camera, mobile computer, e-books, music player, voice recorder, flash drive, games, and GPS navigation, among others.
Actually, there’s no point calling it “phone” any longer. Perhaps just “mobile” will do.
Glossary of GSM Terms & Data Speeds
Global System for Mobile communications (GSM) is the most popular standard for mobile phones in the world. Below are the data services currently available on GSM networks in Nigeria.
- 2G/GPRS – General Packet Radio Service; theoretical top speed: 115 kbps
- 2.5G/EGPRS – Enhanced General Packet Radio Service; theoretical top speed: 384 kbps. EGPRS is popularly known as EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution)
- DVB-H – Digital Video Broadcast – Handheld. A mobile broadcast technology that allows for the digital terrestrial broadcast of live television channels to a mobile phone.
- 3G/UMTS – Universal Mobile Telecommunications System; theoretical top speed: 384 Kbps
- 3.5G/HSDPA – High Speed Data Packet Access; theoretical top speed: 7.2 Mbps
- 3.75G/HSPA+ – High Speed Data Packet Access; theoretical top speed: 42 Mbps
- 4G/LTE – High Speed Data Packet Access; theoretical top speed: 150 Mbps
Glossary of CDMA2000 Terms & Data Speeds
Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) is a competing mobile technology to GSM. Below are the data services currently available on CDMA networks in Nigeria.
- 1x – theoretical top speed: 153 Kbps
- EVDO Rev. 0 – Evolution-Data Optimized; theoretical top speed: 2.4 Mbps
- EVDO Rev. A – Evolution-Data Optimized; theoretical top speed: 3.1 Mbps
Nigerian GSM Frequencies
If roaming to Nigeria, or intending to import GSM mobile phones into the country, be sure to note the following specifications required for the Nigerian market:
- 2G network: GSM 900 / 1800
- 3G network: HSDPA 2100
Check your Mobile Browser User Agent & IP Address
What is a Smartphone?
A smartphone is a mobile device with voice and data capabilities and which runs an operating system that allows the installation and running of third party native applications.
Some of the currently available smartphone operating systems are:
- Windows Phone
Some useful Articles to help you on your way
- Choosing a Mobile Device
- BlackBerry Questions and Answers
- How to use Nokia C3 (or other Nokia phone) as modem
- Get better battery life on your smartphone