Data is life. At least that is what I hear these days. Have you tried having a smart phone without any data subscription or WiFi? It is like that phone is dead. However, once there is any form of data on the said device, it comes to life with all sorts of beeps and notifications.
Yes data has become a big deal in our world and why not? It has helped make the world a lot smaller and distance has been completely cut out. I can describe events happening in the United States with such detail that you think I was there and it is all because of data. But where am I going with this?
I am here talking about the different data plans out there and which is best for your smartphone. For the purpose of this article, I am going to be focusing on Android Data plans as they have the largest market share in terms of mobile devices and I will focus on 3G data plans because… let’s face it! That’s all we have. I’ll get right into it.
I am a heavy Data user who has worked in the tech world for a number of years and that puts me in the right place to critique the three 3G data providers we have (I know you think there are four but I beg to disagree). Okay fine I will talk about all four and they are MTN, Glo, Airtel and 9mobile.
I will write with no bias at all and I would look forward your comments to reinforce or disagree with what I have written. When it comes to speed and 3G, MTN is the fastest and speed is more or less the first thing you look at for when it comes to data.
We are not going to look at just speed here but the entire package (Speed, Coverage, Data Options, Cost)
By dialing *131# on your phone, you are given options which enable you choose through data plans. MTN data plans are so diverse that they border on confusing seeing as different data plans only apply to specific tariff plans (e.g Night plan of N25 for 500MB is only available to MTN Pulse subscribers).
WHAT CAN YOU GET ON MTN?
N1000 gets you 1GB with a 500MB bonus valid for 30 days but of course this only last 7 days (am I right or am I right?). In their defence, the internet is so packed and almost all our apps are online so data usage is a lot more than we anticipate.
N500 gets you a one week plan where you get 500MB with a bonus of 250MB valid for 7 days (this plans lasts me 2 days when I don’t have WiFi to compliment it)
Small plans on MTN make it such that with as little as N25 you can get on social media such as whatsapp and instagram for one day. N100 and N200 can take you through one day browsing any sites you wish (of course you only get like 100MB – 200MB which is as good as opening your Facebook timeline depending on how many videos you have there)
They call themselves the grandmasters of data and a while back, this ‘Grandmasters’ rolled out a very nice marketing strategy; with N1000, subscribers could get 3.2GB of data and with N2500, one could get 10GB worth of data. This was insane and I benefited from it. We could even share the data among other Glo users and I can bet their users increased substantially due to this mouth-watering promotion.
Today however the case is different. When it comes to coverage, Glo is strongest in the western and northern parts of Nigeria but in the South, in places like Port Harcourt for instance, I have to say they can do better.
WHAT CAN YOU GET ON Glo?
Data sharing is still bae and the Glo network does this with ease. N1000 gets you 2GB which doubles upon auto-renewal and if it is your first time of using that plan.
N2000 gives about 4.75GB which also doubles (9.5GB) upon auto-renewal. There is also N2500 which gives about 6.25GB with the power to double as well.
Glo has something they call Mega plans where you can purchase up to 75GB of data with just N10,000. Wow! This plan is valid for 30 days as well.
Glo has daily and weekly plans as well. N500 gets you 2GB which is valid for 10 days, N200 gets you 250MB valid for 5 days and N100 for 90MB valid for one day.
*Oh and the glo network make changes to their data plans whenever they feel like it so this can change any second.
I promised this article won’t be biased and I intend to keep to that promise. Personally, I do not seem to know how to keep track of Airtel data usage. Airtel tells me I have received %100 data bonus but it does not reflect as such. Airtel has had a package called unlimited for a while now but this unlimited plan was actually 2GB (heavily disappointing) and now I see billboards saying ‘Truly Unlimited Data Plans’? Are they implying that we have been duped in the past? Anyways, Airtel is not number one when it comes to speed that’s for sure. When you consider costing however, they used to be the fairest of them all (speaking about their small plans) but Glo and MTN has showed up with better deals.
WHAT CAN YOU GET ON Airtel?
This is where it gets confusing. When you dial *141# you get to see an option for unlimited plans. My first question is this. If the plans are unlimited for 30 days, why are there different price brackets? Why do I pay N10,000 for 30 days and my friend is paying 15,000 for the same 30 days? And both of us are on ‘Unlimited plan’? That I do not have the answer to and if you do, please let me know about it in the comment section.
As for regular plans, Airtel has the widest brackets. Users can get 1.5GB of data for N1,000 and a wide range of other data plans up to 20GB for 8,000.
For those who are not in the know, 9mobile used to be Etisalat and now they have rebranded (bless their hustle). They are fair in terms of speed because they are at a close tie with MTN but that depends on a couple of factors; one of them being your location and the other being the time of the day.
WHAT CAN YOU GET ON 9Mobile?
First thing you can be sure of is the speed. They come really close to, and dare I say it, sometimes even surpass MTN (I said sometimes). On 9Mobile, you get regular data from N100 to N1000 for 1GB and 1200 for 1.5GB.
*This post will keep getting updated as these networks update their data plans