In the year 2016 alone, Nigeria has witnessed the launch of five (5) new 4G LTE networks in the country. They include: Ntel, InterC, MTN, Glo, and Etisalat. Before these five, there were already three (3) other 4G LTE networks already in operation. Those three are Spectranet, Swift, and Smile. In all, there are eight (8) 4G LTE networks currently active in Africa’s most populous nation. It is a case of 4G everywhere in this West African country.
But one more is still being expected: Airtel. Airtel Nigerioa will be the last of the big four operators (MTN, Glo, Airtel, Etisalat) to deploy a 4G LTE service in the country. There are other 4G license holders lurking in the shadows and waiting to spring out too.
Everywhere you turn in Nigeria, there seems to be one operator or the other rolling out 4G service. This time, rollout has not been limited to the three major cities – Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt – alone. Cities and towns like Benin, Abeokuta, Ibadan, Ilorin, Kaduna, Jos, Warri, Eket, Yola and Zaria are now on the 4G LTE broadband map. And more are on the way. There is a concerted effort to spread coverage as wide as possible and reach regions beyond the usual suspects.
Before now, 4G service in Nigeria was on the expensive side. Then Ntel stepped in this year and introduced unlimited data plans for a fixed monthly fee. While great value, the tariffs were still not something that the average Nigerian could afford. Once again, it is Glo that has come to the rescue of the average Nigerian. Glo is currently offering 3.2 GB of data for 30 days for just NGN1,000. What makes it really sweet is that the data plan is shareable. And it is available for 4G service users. This ultra-low data tariff is a first in the country. It makes internet access something that many more low income earners can afford. It is expected that more operators will follow suit and introduce lower tariffs.
The combination of wide 4G LTE coverage across the country and lower tariffs (as well as more value-packed data plans) means that Nigeria will experience greater internet penetration, faster internet connectivity, greater media consumption, as well as increased productivity.
The country is currently suffering a recession. Digital media is one viable area generating employment and income for internet-savvy youngsters around the country. Having access to 4G everywhere and at lower costs is good news for the growing digital economy in Nigeria.