This quick and easy guide makes things easy for you by answering the questions you have about mobile Internet and mobile data plans that are available in Nigeria.
Mobile data is the common phrase used to refer to Internet access via mobile network operators. It is the Internet avauilable to you via your mobile network and it can be available in the form of GPRS and EDGE (2G), UMTS, WCDMA and HSP (3G), LTE (4G), and 5G. 5G is not commercially available yet in Nigeria, but it should be in a few years’ time. If you are not a technical person, you can forget about all the fancy terms like GPRS, EDGE, UMTS, etc and just use 2G, 3G, and 4G. Those are easier to remember.
So, if you have a mobile line from MTN, Airtel, Glo or 9mobile in Nigeria, Internet access is available on all four of those networks and so you can buy mobile data plans or bundles. In addition to the four GSM-based operators, there are 4G-only operators scattered around the country and offering mobile data plans as well. They include: Smile, Ntel, Spectranet, Swift, among others.
This guide makes things easy for you by answering the questions you have about mobile data.
Can I just buy data for my phone?
Yes; you can. For example, you can login to your bank app and buy data directly without first buying airtime on your line.
How can I buy mobile data?
If you already have airtime on your line, you can buy a mobile data plan by dialling a specific code provided by your network operator. You can also buy data through your operator’s mobile app, or through your banking app.
Can I use a data-only SIM in phone?
Sure; you can use a data-only SIM card in your phone. What that means though is that you will not be able to make or receive telephone calls on that line.
How can I get free mobile data?
Most times, your network operator offers bonus data when you buy a mobile data plan. Sometimes, a 3rd party partners with an operator to offer subcribers free data. For example, Opera is offering Free Browsing to MTN & Airtel subscribers in Nigeria. It is a small amount daily. If you are on either of those networks, you can benefit from it. Another free data initiative is by Facebook. On many mobile networks, you can use Facebook for free.
What is the best data plan?
This depends ona number of factor, but as at May 2020, our research says that weekly data plans by the four mobile network operators are the best data plans you can buy now. They include: MTN’s Weekly Jolly Data plan, Airtel Weekly Binge data plan, 9mobile’s 7GB + Social weekly data plan, and Glo’s weekly data plan.
Can I get an unlimited data bundle from my mobile network?
Unfortunately, you cannot at this time. None of the four mobile operators in Nigeria offer an unlimited data plan right now. Airtel once announced their Truly Unlimited Plans in 2017, but it didn’t gain traction and the service codes now display an invalid message when dialled.
If you want an unlimited data plan, you will have to explore the available options from 4G networks, like Smile unlimited data plans and Ntel data bundles.
If you have any questions about mobile data plans in Nigeria, use the comment box below to ask and we will respond to you with a helpful answer.