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LTE Networks in Nigeria as metaphors of country’s value system

4G LTE Networks in Nigeria not good – Enextgen Wireless’ report; See reasons

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LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

Enext wireless, Inc., an engineering company that focuses on improving user experience on Mobile Broadband Wireless Communications, has passed a verdict on the quality of 4G LTE (fourth generation long-term evolution) deployed in Nigeria by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) as “not good”.

The four largest MNOs in Nigeria are MTN Nigeria, Globacom, Airtel Nigeria, and 9mobile. And the report about the quality of LTE networks in Nigeria is coming on the heels of a report by TechEconomy.ng on top 20 ISPs in Nigeria. Incidentally, some of the ISPs functions are internet service resellers for the large MNOs.

The importance of independent monitoring

“We cannot continue to depend on government for things we can do for ourselves, when it is obvious that the government is very busy.

Unbelievable as it may seem, our ancestors existed within the borders of Nigeria before the first British person stepped foot on this land. In other words, we owned the land.

Now, we have our interaction with the British and 20/20 hindsight to thank for reminding us that we were one people for whom it is never too late.

We have given up a lot. In return, we have received only the type of comfort that numbs the pain of giving up self-worth.

We are now left with no choice but to rely on a system created to denigrate our value and deny us reverence for our ancestry. This affects us all.

The only solution is to learn to look after one another. We cannot blame the government for making us sick when we wait for its permission to breathe despite having access to free air.

These words summed up the feelings of experts at Enextgen Wireless following their discoveries overtime on the quality of 4G LTE deployed by the Mobile Network Operators (MNOs) in Nigeria.

The experts’ verdict is that the quality of LTE networks in Nigeria is not good. They will tell you why:

According to latest report by Enextgen Wireless, the situation gets worse in areas where it is needed the most.

“We have monitored it since 2016, two years after the first LTE network was deployed (by Smile) in Ibadan. We have been sharing our reports on the quality of the networks with the operators ever since.

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“We have shared information about our efforts with the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC). We have incorporated their recommendations into our platform meant to address the very unique nature of the need of a country the size of Nigeria with a growing population of people seemingly programmed to believe that it is normal to celebrate independence without learning how they came to be dependent”.

“NCC collects quality metrics for 2G and 3G networks from network operators and publish them on its website. While the majority of Nigerians are not likely to visit the NCC website for the purpose of reviewing these metrics, at least the metrics are there.

“The NCC doesn’t even seem to acknowledge the existence of LTE as a unique 3GPP mobile communication standard, let alone publish performance metrics for the networks that are based on the standard”, says the company led by Engineer Aderemi Adeyeye.

“We have gone steps further. We have created a platform for collecting quality data from the mobile networks as seen by our devices and making them available to the general public. We have professional logging tools that cost tens of thousands of dollars each for our test configuration.

“However, our mobile application data collection tool makes it possible to simultaneously collect meaningful logs everywhere there is LTE coverage.

“As the data collected using this tool is detailed enough for salient performance optimization activities, in addition to being used to create the reports, our data can be used by the network operators to improve the quality of their networks even though they are not required to do so. It can also be used for benchmarking (even by the NCC) and many other purposes.

The revealed that its purpose and data are different than those of global performance monitoring and benchmarking services such as provided by Ookla, Open Signal, Rootmetrics, Teleworld Services, Nperf, GSMA, etc.

“We focus on the unique Nigerian, not global, problem. We rely on the mobile LTE networks for our own daily business operation, as such have similar interest to ordinary human beings and small businesses in Nigeria in seeing the quality improved”.

In the following slides, they showed areas that they currently have data for.

“Cooperation of the MNOs would facilitate access to data for the rest of the country. We will make our data collection tool available at nominal fee. In return, the public will have visibility into the quality of LTE networks and the MNOs will have access to data for quality monitoring and improvement. While Core Network monitoring and observation tools are essential, they are no substitute for end-user experience that our logs provide visibility into”.

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Public access to the network quality data is available via its website while special access to the network quality for MNOs is available, by request via this platform.

Areas with available Logs for MTN 4G LTE

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

Areas with available Logs for Glo 4G LTE

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

Areas with available Logs for Airtel 4G LTE

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen WirelessAreas with available Logs for 9mobile 4G LTE

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

MTN LTE coverage in sections of Lagos

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G services

MTN should improve 4G LTE quality in Yaba where high quantities of packet loss create unreliable internet connectivity.

Snapshots from Christmas Day:

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G services

Captured data from various parts of the country on Christmas day

  • Quality issues include
    • RRC Connection Failures
    • Radio Link Failures
    • Packet loss
    • Large packet delays
  • Our UE logs provide additional insight into these issues.

Latency in MTN 12-25-2021:

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G LTE

Packet loss in MTN 12-25-2021:

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G services

Connection failures, Radio Link failures and packet losses in Port Harcourt

Radio Link Failure and IRAT 12/25/2021:

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G services

Sample low-cost issues identification beyond Christmas day using data from Enextlog logging tool:

MTN Emetrics (coverage quality)  and events West to East

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G services

Texts in red are RRC-connected cell reselection events indicative of radio link failures that might have resulted in RRC Connection Drops

MTN Emetrics (coverage quality) and events East to West

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G LTE

Texts in red indicate RRC-connected cell reselection events indicative of radio link failures that might have resulted in RRC Connection Drops.

Use of Enextlog data for basic RF analysis in MTN:

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G services

  • UE traveled north to south. PCI 485 served while PCI 483 was stronger. Issue could be due to missing neighbor relationship definition or failed or missing handoff attempt.
  • More detailed analysis is possible with sector information overlaid.

Large packet latency in MTN LTE around Cocoa House in Ibadan:

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

Improving the packet latency in this major business district will result in improved productivity for businesses that rely on reliable, affordable internet connectivity. Though RF quality can be improved, it is good enough. Uplink and downlink throughputs are adequate.

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(NB: MTN LTE offers us the best service in this area. Packet latencies in the other networks are higher. Furthermore, MTN RF quality (Emetrics) is higher than that of Airtel or Glo).

Large packet latency in Glo LTE around Cocoa House in Ibadan:

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

Improving the packet latency in this major business district will result in improved productivity for businesses that rely on reliable, affordable internet connectivity. RF quality also needs improvement.

NB: MTN LTE offers the best service in this area. Packet latencies in the other networks are higher.

Large packet latency in MTN LTE in Yaba:

MTN, Airtel, Glo and 9mobile lack quality 4G LTE

Improving the packet latency in this major business district will result in improved productivity for businesses that rely on reliable, affordable internet connectivity. RF quality also needs improvement.

(NB: MTN LTE offers the best service in this area. Packet latencies in the other networks are higher).

Airtel packet loss:

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

This is an example where there were no echo returns to ping packets sent to IP address 8.8.8.8.

Airtel packet loss: 

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

No echo returns from the identified hex bins from Google DNS Server (8.8.8.8). We experienced packet loss in each of the bins while none of them had poor RF quality.

Airtel 4G LTE – packet loss at Oka Akoko:

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

Airtel 4G LTE – packet loss at Oka Akoko: 

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

RF quality is good. However, UE was not able to reach the internet due to packet loss.

Concluding remarks:

LTE networks (operators) in Nigeria have access to a unique asset

  • Cost-free access to real user-experience information.
  • Experience-based classification of network quality supplemented with real measured values to facilitate quality improvement.
  • Opportunity to improve customer experience without additional investment.

Some key benefits of this asset.

  • It helps offer value for the money paid by customers without reducing the allure of doing business in an environment with scant expectation of value.
  • It supports government’s professed effort to encourage participation of small indigenous enterprises in meaningful telecom engineering activities.
  • The resulting opportunity for interested MNOs to claim support for government initiative should make up for anticipated dent in reputation when value is offered to perceived undeserving customers.

LTE Networks in Nigeria not good, says Enextgen Wireless

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