Industry players like MTN and AIRTEL have rolled out 4G in major cities across the country, dramatically improving speeds in these areas.
At the same time, it is important to note that there are key issues in the networks that still need to be addressed.
Consumer habits have continued to evolve as the Nigerian market is increasingly receptive to streaming platforms like Apple Music, Boom play, Deezer, Netflix and many more.
However, these changes in consumer behavior translate to demands for much better connectivity at a more affordable rate.
After testing wireless network performance at multiple locations in eight cities in Nigeria in the past year, the annual report for [Enextgen Wireless] National Independent Wireless Broadband Quality Reporting (NIWBQR) is based on tests the researchers carried out in four of the cities.
Enextgen Wireless also introduced an LTE coverage visualization Map called the Enext Metrics that visualizes the likely performance quality perceived by mobile subscribers at various locations in Nigeria based on the quality of Radio Frequency deployment.
“The goal”, according to the President of Enextgen Wireless Inc., Engineer Remi Adeyeye, “is to provide consumers and interested mobile service operator’s visibility into the quality of LTE deployment at geographical locations of interest”.
“This independent visualization map enhances the ability of mobile network consumers to make informed decision as to the best network to select for their important broadband connectivity needs.
The researchers reported that there has been substantial increase in 4G LTE coverage in major commercial cities in Nigeria.
“All four major network operators have improved the quality of their LTE coverage. However, intolerable packet latencies continue to be a major impediment to satisfactory internet connectivity experience.
“Except for MTN, where latency is tolerable and seems to be improving, the packet latency in the LTE networks remain exceedingly high.
“Overall, MTN has the best coverage quality, as determined by our coverage quality measurements. In areas where all the four major service providers have LTE coverage, 9Mobile’s coverage quality appears second only to that of MTN. However, it ranks lowest in Enextgen Wireless NIWBQR reports as a result very high latency and connection drops.
While Airtel has the worst coverage quality, it ranks second only to MTN in our NIWBQR rankings as its latency, while high, is far lower than that in Glo and 9Mobile.
“However, even with the increased coverage, our estimate is that LTE service is currently available in less than 10% of the inhabited areas of the country”, the report made available to TechEconomy.ng reads.
UNDERSTANDING THIS REPORT
Latency refers to the delay users experience as data makes a round trip through the network. The latencies for all four operators are high compared to global standard for excellent service quality [less than 50ms]. Latency is important as it indicates how responsive a network is to interactive activities such as webpage interaction.
LTE [4G] Availability is a measure of coverage from areas we have tested and confirmed to have 4G coverage or lack of 4G coverage.
Enextgen Wireless reports that MTN leads in the provision of 4G technology in Nigeria, this is reflected in MTN’s overall NIWBQR performance quality.
The fact that 4G LTE is inherently better than 3G is reflected in the overall report, as only MTN has LTE coverage in some areas such as Ado Ekiti and Akure. “The impact of this is perhaps more significant for 9mobile as it offers 4G coverage only in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt”, the report shows.
CALL DROP RATE (CDR)
“A call drop in LTE means that a user’s ongoing session is dropped, requiring the user to initiate a new connection to resume services. The CDR is displayed as a percentage, computing the number of dropped calls against total calls handled.
“This is an indication of the reliability of the network during testing. GLO had the least Call Drop Rate and lead the other service providers while Airtel followed closely.
CONNECTION SETUP FAILURE RATE (CFR)
This indicates the accessibility to services offered by the network at the time of evaluation.
“The accessibility KPI is expressed in terms of the probability that the user will be able to access the service as desired.
“The connection success rate is displayed as a percentage, computing the successful connections compared to total connection attempts. MTN had the lowest RRC connection failure rate GLO’s network had the highest RRC Connection Failure rate.
PEAK DOWNLOAD SPEED
“We focused on the peak download speed only, since the high latencies mitigate the significance of high average throughput. The peak download throughput is a measure of an aspect of the quality of Radio Frequency optimization of the network for the available bandwidth
“This part of the report provides cost-benefit analysis for the consumer. It is based on the naira’s paid for the quality of service received on the big four  networks [Mtn, Airtel, Glo, 9mobile] from NIWBQR drive data in Port Harcourt in August 2019”, Enextgen Wireless said.
DISCOVER ENEXT METRICS
Enext metrics is a tool designed to reveal the quality of 4G LTE Radio Frequency deployment from Enextgen wireless crowdsourced data as in Nigeria. Using the platform mobile operators can:
- Benchmark network quality and coverage across all operators
- Visualize coverage quality across all operators
- Drill down to street level to identify areas that need optimization