Internet Access Options in Nigeria – Abuja April 2014

Someone asked me for information about available options for reliable corporate Internet in Abuja yesterday and after composing the email response with the analysis, I realized that over the years, I have somehow inadvertently become a walking encyclopedia of sorts for data network connectivity in Nigeria. This probably comes from consulting for multiple organizations including the network operators themselves. I’m posting this here with the hope that you find it useful.

Caveat: This information is valid as of April 2014. The market changes, Internet service providers could upgrade their networks,  overload their networks, become bankrupt, or go out of business for one reason or another. If by any chance, I make mention of a particular service provider, it should not be construed as an endorsement of same. This information is provided without warranties of any sort. You could however engage the services of Tinitop Technologies to completely take away your Internet connectivity headaches.

That being said, in Abuja metropolis, you have a number of options. 3G services from GSM operators, WiMax services from one or two fixed operators, WiFi services from a few local ISPs depending on your location, 4G/LTE services from one or two new entrants, Fibre-to-the-premises from two or three local ISPs but also dependent on location. Fibre to the premises is available in parts of Wuse, Maitama, Asokoro, Utako, Central Business District and Garki.

For most individuals, you’d probably be fine with a 3G subscription from any of the mobile networks. If your needs are a little more demanding then you could look at a Wimax/4G connection from one of the more reliable providers for the increased data allocations.

If you want dedicated carrier-grade Internet with Service Level Assurances and no (gigabyte) data transfer limits, you should be looking at MRC of about N120,000 per Mbps delivered to your offices either via fiber cable or microwave radio. Setup fees for this range between N400,000 and N1,500,000 depending on the specifics of the location in relation to the operator’s infrastructure and the technology to be used. You can have an Internet subscription as high as 155Mbps with this option. The monthly recurrent cost per Mbps reduces to as low as N60,000 for larger capacity. Time to deploy this option: 2-6 weeks from financial commitment.

3G, 4G, WiMax can be purchased off the shelf (almost) in hours but those are usually “best-effort” services and do not come with specific guarantees; they could be working fine today and off tomorrow so you need to have at least 2 distinct connections to have some peace of mind. This category of service usually has a maximum throughput of 2Mbps for the really good operators. MRC for this is on the average about N20,000 per Mbps per month with a 20Gigabytes data limit. This means that you can do up to 2Mbps but your subscription has to be renewed once you’ve uploaded/download a total of 20Gb data.

If you are budget constrained and would prefer to consider the combination option for high speed, you could purchase from say three different operators and pool the connections together to get a best case speed of 6Mbps. Capital expenditure for this type of connection ranges from N10,000 to N150,000 per connection (range is from USB dongles to mobile Wimax/4G to fixed WiMax). I would also charge you a token if you aren’t able to set up the aggregation and bandwidth optimization. The hardware doesn’t cost much. Time to deploy this option: 1-5 days from financial commitment.