In Lagos state today, there are three major internet service providers (ISPs) competing for superiority in the Telecommunications market – Spectranet, Smile, and Swift Networks. All three brands providing 4G-LTE broadband service have been a subject of discussion for which is most reliable, cost-effective, and provides better coverage across Lagos State. The struggle is real as you can hardly tell which is better than the other. This article provides detailed analysis as to which stands out more than the other in terms of Speed, Coverage, Cost and reliability from experienced users.
Swift Networks is a telecommunications service provider in Nigeria founded in 2002 and with a license from Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) providing internet connectivity services to both businesses and residential subscribers.
Swift Networks specifically focuses on investing in “next generation” networking technologies to build a multi-service network platform. It obtained an exclusive wireless spectrum license from the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), which has enabled it to operate an end-to-end reliable, fiber-like connectivity service in the exclusively licensed and interference-free 3.5GHZ spectrum.
Swift Network provides leading-edge broadband services for cost-effective and reliable deployment of a multi-service network. Its unique services include; Broadband Internet access that is fast, secure, and reliable, Virtual Private Networking Services, Collocation services, Web and email hosting, Videoconferencing, and surveillance solutions. It is easy and fast to install and it has a 99% network availability as masts are not required.
Spectranet is the first Internet Service Provider to launch 4G LTE internet service in Nigeria, it was awarded a License from the Nigerian Communications Commission in 2009 to promote Internet services across the country.
It provides fast, reliable, and affordable broadband Internet services to students, professionals, families & business enterprises at exceptional value for money. It is known for the slogan ”pay light to download heavy” Its services are currently available across Lagos, Abuja, Ibadan, and Port Harcourt.
About Smile Networks
Smile Communications provides 4G LTE mobile broadband in several countries in Africa. Our objective is to become the broadband provider of choice for SuperFast mobile broadband internet and SuperClear voice services in each of our markets and to provide over 300 million potential customers in our countries of operation with a fast, reliable, and high-quality broadband internet to accelerate development and wealth creation. While their mission is to create a fully connected Africa enabled by a team that is driven by passion, integrity, humility, and humanity.
Comparing Swift, Spectranet and Smile Networks
Although Spectranet came into existence seven years after Swift, both internet service providers have gained a fair share of the Telecoms market and have made good names for themselves by establishing customer satisfaction and positioning themselves as major players in Lagos and largely Nigeria. Smile Networks, the last entrant, entered the Nigerian Telco space in late 2014 and quickly expanded its network coverage across 8 cities, and quickly gaining its status as a key player in the industry
We conducted tests for all three Networks to analyze their Speed, coverage and reliability using similar Mifi devices of all Network Providers manufactured by Huawei and lastly, did a brief comparison on their prices and available service plans.
In a speed test conducted using the Ookla speed test app at Ikeja in Lagos State, Spectranet 4g-LTE recorded a higher download speed of 11 mbps compared to swift 4g-LTE’s 8.9 mbps and Smile Network’s 8.2 mbps and cut a clear win during a download test of a 200mb file using the popular Download Accelerator Plus (DAP10) desktop app. However, during actual live streaming on youtube and Netflix, Swift 4g-LTE recorded a more fluid and buffer-free experience compared to Spectranet and Smile Networks.
It should be noted that all tests were conducted at noon, on a weekday, so other factors such as the number of connected users to the serving Base Station (BTS) and the modem type used could play a critical part in determining the speed at that point in time.
Our representatives did a test drive across Lagos, Starting at Berger, driving through Ikeja, Yaba, Victoria Island, Lekki and ending at Ajah. While all three Network Providers recorded good coverage in all six cities, Smile 4g-LTE recorded fewer service interruptions and stronger network bars on the MIFI device than both Swift Networks, which rated second, and Spectranet, which experienced more Network fluctuations and the most service interruptions during the test drive.
Generally, a stronger network and internet experience was observed on the Spectranet device during the travel from Berger to Yaba through Ikorodu Road and Herbert Macaulay road. Swift 4g-LTE, however, seemed to perform better on the drive, through third mainland bridge, Victoria Island and Lekki-Epe expressway down to Novare Mall at Sangotedo, Ajah. Smile LTE recorded more consistent Network bars through the test drive.
From my personal experience, all three LTE Networks proved reliable in terms of available network and service delivery and online customer support for internet-related issues. However, Swift Networks appeared a lot more helpful with technical support than both Smile and Spectranet Networks in solving Network related issues, as they offered over the phone tips and also offered to send a technical officer to inspect and address the issues at no extra cost. Both Spectranet and Smile representatives insisted on visiting their service centers to address the complaints.
All three providers fell short in terms of technical support for faulty devices as both operate a no-repair policy and insist that a new device be purchased upon physical damage to an existing device. This, however, aren’t communicated at the point of purchase. Spectranet offered a new device with 30gb data for NGN 16,000, Smile offered a device replacement only for NGN 15,000, Swift had the highest cost of replacements at NGN 25,000 for a mifi modem and the devices were rarely available so buyers still have to pre-order and wait to get a replacement. All three networks offer replacements for power cords, batteries and device antennas which are sold at their service centers.
Swift sells a Multi-user device with a preloaded 20Gb for N34,500, with the option of unlimited data for N40,000 and sells a MIFI device (called Nomad) preloaded with 20Gb data for N20,000 with the option of unlimited data for N30,000.
Spectranet offers cheaper bundle options across both Multiuser and Mifi devices; with a Multiuser device preloaded with 120gb data selling for N27,500 or with 70gb selling for N23,500, and MIFI device options of 45gb for N17,000 and 70gb for N23,500
Smile Networks on the other hand offers a sMIFI device with 60Gb for N14,500 and a MultiUser Router with 160Gb for 25,000
All brands offer a wide range of subscription plan options from as low as N500 weekly data plan to as high as N30,000 monthly data subscriptions. Also available are Day only plans, Night only plans (starting at 6 pm and terminating at 7 am), 24/7 unlimited plans and Night only unlimited plans.
From our findings, the most popular subscription plan on Swift Networks is the Swift Essential plan offering 30gb of data for N8,500 monthly, while the most popular data plan on Spectranet is the 30Gb Mega Value plan offering 25gb of data + free unlimited night browsing for N10,235. Smile’s most popular data plan offer’s 30gb for N8,000
What Customers Say
This research won’t be complete without asking some Nigerians to share their thought. And so as part of our research we asked; Swift, Smile or Spectranet 4G LTE which is more reliable and cost-effective? And we definitely got answers. The respondents adjudged the two network providers based on speed, prices, and location.
One of the interviewed who identified himself as Mike said; He preferred Spectranet as it is a cheaper 4G Network with moderate speed.
Duke, from Lagos, said “Swift has been VERY reliable and stable for me and I have not once called them in my nearly 3 years of using them. I use it in 3 locations in Lagos; Ogba, Surulere, and Iju. it has worked flawlessly. Download speed is just phenomenal!
Olaitan a Spectranet user says “I live in Iju and work in Surulere and the speed is blazing fast. I stream youtube videos up to 720p without buffering.
From the responses we got, the majority of people we questioned were of the opinion that Smile was the most expensive and the fastest of the three, while spectranet was the most affordable while Swift was the most reliable.
In my own opinion, both Swift smile and Spectranet internet service providers are awesome and having to decide which option to go for if more of a personal choice as to what you consider important. I’m very conscious of my internet speed and monthly data consumption which averages 40gb, and coverage because i move around a lot, I’ll be more inclined to go with Smile Communications which is similarly priced as the other two but offers extended coverage in cities like Abuja, Ibadan and benin City. However, if you are tickled by the idea of cheap or unlimited data then Spectranet might just be the right option for you.
In conclusion, Swift, Smile and Spectranet are still three of the biggest high-speed internet providers in Nigeria that provide valuable and reliable internet connectivity. They are all portable and very convenient to use indoors. And while some customers may prefer one over the other, it is all a matter of preference after all you’re the one using your money. With that said, it should also be noted that inasmuch as both brands are equally successful, there is still the need for both to continually innovate/improve in order for them to remain relevant.
So tell us which of these two will you recommend and why?