On August 24 2022, MTN Nigeria switched on its 5G network in the lead-up to the highly anticipated commercial launch.
Following the development, the company is set to cover major cities in Nigeria and Ibadan, the capital of Oyo State, is one among the first cities where the 5G Network has been deployed.
Others are; Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt, Kano, Owerri, and Maiduguri, which started testing the next-generation network infrastructure.
Customers with certain enabled devices will be allowed to connect with and try out the new service where coverage is available.
Enextgen Wireless Limited, an engineering company that focuses on improving user experience on Mobile Broadband Wireless Communications went to town (Ibadan) in ‘search’ of 5G.
The engineers, according to a report available to TechEconomy.ng, said they were looking to characterize the new MTN 5G network.
“Our 5G UEs are not yet included among supported devices; Samsung S21 SM-G991U1 and Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G. We do not know the exact locations of 5G cell sites. We purchased MTN’s 5G Routers. Our current tests are on those routers. We have not connected any external antennas to the routers and we don’t fully understand the logic behind delivering the routers without some type of antennas”.
“We would connect the 5G Routers to external antennas and re-evaluate”. [You can view reports from public EMETRICS website here].
The reports are separated into 4G and 5G once the 5G devices are added to the supported list.
“We should be beyond being some sort of Banana Republic where the service provider, not the experience of the customer or an independent evaluation tells customers the type or quality of service they are receiving.
“We believe that independent verification of MNO’s claims is essential to the development of mobile broadband services”.
Enextgen Wireless’ discoveries during the engineers’ search for 5G in Ibadan:
5G Throughput results from SPEEDTEST
The test was conducted within Enextgen Wireless Cocoa House office in Ibadan.
Meanwhile, the engineers said “No external antennas were connected while the signal indicator showed 5G”
“We have included this area in the following evaluated route”.
4G LTE RS SINR along evaluated route
5G UE (Samsung S20) ran Enextlog – the logging and data generation application.
They used MTN 5G Router for data transfers; MTN 5G Router for ping packets; Enextlog was in 4G LTE the entire route.
“The 5G UE is not among the list of UEs currently supported by the MNO. RF measurements were for 4G LTE; and throughput and latency measurements were for the 5G Router.
MTN 5G Router Downlink Throughput along evaluated route
- The throughput reports are from the new MTN 5G Router.
- They would be 5G throughput when the router was connected to 5G network but 4G throughput otherwise.
- The router showed 5G coverage along some sections of the route.
Temporal plot of downlink throughput along the evaluated route
Distribution of downlink throughput along the evaluated route
EMETRICS throughput report for some bins along the covered route
The team deployed their 5G devices to collect log, “we will separate throughput by RAN type – 5G or 4G. The important thing to note is that reports of signal quality, packet latency and throughput are available for the public to see for free.
“We cover the cost of signal quality and packet latency, and occasionally, throughput reports.
“When MNOs make their throughput data available that report also becomes widely available.
Image: Sample geographical bins of MTN 5G Router Downlink Throughput along evaluated route
We have heard about the many impressive things 5G makes possible. Now that there is some 5G coverage in Nigeria, we believe it is time to start paying more attention to what the deployment of that 5G makes possible than the abstract concept of what 5G, in general, makes possible.
The Enextgen Wireless team put it this way:
“4G LTE has not fared very well in places such as Yaba. 4G has been great only to the extent that only the self-adulation of the MNOs matters. Our experience is that the MNOs have not made much effort to deploy 4G LTE of high quality.
“We are hopeful that 100 MHz contiguous spectrum for deploying a mobile broadband network would make a difference. At this stage, we see this spectrum allocation, not 5G perse, as the real source of hope. The fact that 5G makes it possible to use that spectrum more effectively is a major benefit. However, the effective use of that spectrum is what ordinary Nigerians are likely to benefit from.
“The focus of mobile network deployment in the country seems to have been on monitoring the quality of 2G/3G while deploying 4G, as if to avoid addressing the poor quality of the deployed 4G. We are now touting abstract qualities of 5G as if we had fully deployed 4G, optimized its deployment and outlived its usefulness.
“The 100 MHz spectrum allocation for 5G should make a difference. Our fear is that our MNOs will find a way of giving us poor 5G quality by shifting the discussion to the esoteric services that 5G make possible at the expense of addressing the basic deployment quality necessary to provide good mobile broadband experience”.