In Nigeria till date, with the exception of Ntel 4G, true unlimited data plans have been non-existent. There is almost a data cap and throttling activitiy hidden somewhere in a quality of service and terms of use document, And Smile Communications has been a chief culprit of this practice. But the telecommunications company seems set to correct this practice with the introduction of what they call True Unlimited data plans. July 2020 Update: These new data plans have since been modified by Smile since this article was first published. As such, I have had to modify parts of this article to reflect those changes. Please read to the end to get a detailed picture of what has changed.

Before now, Smile offered two fake unlimited data plans. I call them fake becuse they were limited: once you used up to a certain data volume, the connection is throttled. Here they are, along with the limits on them:

  • UnlimitedEssential: This plan offers you a maximum data speed of up to 8Mbps, but once you have used up to 70GB data in a month, your connection speed is drastically reduced to 512kbps. Unusable. This is basically a 70GB data plan.
  • UnlimitedLite: Smile’s Unlimited Lite plan offers a maximum data speed of up to 8Mbps but will throttle the speed to about 512kbps once you use up to 35GB data in a month. Again, this is basically a 35GB data plan, because you really can’t so anything with the connection speed ater it is throttled.

I have stayed away from both of the above plans, as the connection becomes useless as soon as throttling is applied beyond 30GB and 25GB respectively. These are no real unlimited data plans.

So, what is Smile doing differently this time? I got a mail from them offering me true unlimited data plans. A quick digging around unveiled two of them, and Smile says that for both, there is NO data cap and NO throttling. Here are the details:

Smile’s New True Unlimited Data Plans

smile true unlimited data plan

  • UnlimitedPlatinum plan
  • 30 days validity
  • Speeds of up to 6Mbps
  • ₦24,000 monthly
  • July 2020 Update: Smile has added a daily FUP of 10GB to this plan.
  • UnlimitedPremium plan
  • 30 days validity
  • Speeds of up to 3Mbps
  • ₦20,000 monthly
  • July 2020: Smile has added a daily FUP of 6GB to this plan.

As you can see, these new true unlimited data plans look like the real deal. I frown a bit at the speed caps of 6Mbps and 3Mbps respectively for a 4G LTE wireless service, but I can live with that if it is dependable. A dependable 2Mbps connection is more than adequate for most web-based tasks, including streaming of video content. Well, not 4k video though. But you get what I mean.

I intend to subscribe to the Smile UnlimitedPremium plan to try out this new service. I hope to God that Smile will keep to their end of the deal. I haven’t used an unlimited data plan since Ntel’s coveragee became spotty at my end. So, Internet connectivity has been a bit painful and I have shuttled between Glo, Airtel, and recently MTN. If you have used a true unlimited data plan before, you will agree with me that once you go unlimited, nothing else feels right.

One is also worried about how long before these terms change. You see, just some months ago, the UnlimitedPremium plan had no speed cap on it and cost only ₦19,800. Now, there is a 3Mbps speed cap and it costs ₦20,270. I understand that Smile is trying to find that sweet spot that works for both the customer and for their own bottomline. Still, this kind of uncertainty makes potential subscribers jittery.

If you have tried out any of Smile’s new true unlimited data plans, please drop a comment below and share your experience with it.

PS: As at July 2020, Smile has modified their new “Unlimited” data plans by introducing data caps on ALL of them. So, these plans are no longer unlimited. The modified details about the plans have been updated in this article. Thanks to a reader, Smiley Face, for the update.

You will also be interested in the new Smile BIGGA Plans.

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By Mister Mobility

Nigeria's foremost tech blogger and smartphone reviewer. Call me Daddy.

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