MTN Fastlink Mobile Broadband Internet Services
Published: 2 Oct 2013
The MTN Fastlink is a 3.5 Giga byte mobile broadband of MTN and one among the mobile broadband plans of MTN telecommunication network that is intended for high speed and reliable internet surfing through the use of a desktop computer, laptop or even mobile phones. This broadband plan as well as other mobile broad bands' internet bundle by MTN is restricted by validity period - which subscribers dislike intensely. To be able to use the fastlink for your internet browsing, you need to first install in it on your PC and purchase a preferred data plan from their various internet data plans which would normally restrict and determine your usage of the fastlink modem for web browsing. In order to subscribe to any of the data plans, you must purchase phone voucher equivalent to the cost of the data plan you want to subscribe and either send the subscription code to 131 via SMS or subscribe directly through the 'purchase data plan' on the mobile broadband interface. You can as well subscribe via MTN office closest to you.
A list of the subscription codes have been drawn out below:
- MTN Daily Data Plan: This MTN data plan costs N500 and last for a 24 hour validity period. MTN offers 150MB for this plan. To subscribe just text 103 to131
- MTN Night Data Plan: We believe this is the most cost effective plan of all of MTN data plans. It offers a data space of 3GB for 30 days between the periods of 9pm to 6am for only N2500. Text 102 to 131 to get on this plan. Currently, you get a bonus of 1.5 GB making it 4.5GB when you purchase this plan.
- MTN Weekend Data Plan: This data plan goes on from 9pm on Fridays to 6am on Mondays with a data space of 3GB for N3000 only. To subscribe to this data bundle, send 108 to 131.
- MTN Daytime Data Plan: This plan is for those who can't sacrifice their night sleep for internet browsing using the Night data bundle; they can opt for this plan but at a higher charge of course. In this bundle, internet surfing go on from 6am to 9pm for 30 days at the rate of N6000. Just send 107 to 131 to start enjoying this plan.
- MTN Monthly Data Plan: This plan offers you absolute control on your internet browsing. With this MTN data plan, you are provided with 5GB data space to browse the internet at any period of the day for 30days and at the rate of N8000 only. To subscribe to this package, simply text 101 to 131.
The bundles data plans below are for those who use Mobile phones and Smart phones for MTN Fastlink:
- MTN 10MB Daily Data Plan: This plan is just for 24 hours and costs N100 only. Simply text 104 to131 to get this plan.
- MTN 25MB Weekly Data Plan: This MTN mobile internet plan continues for 7 days and costs N400. Simply text 105 to131 to subscribe.
- MTN 100MB Monthly Data Plan: Although this mobile internet bundle provides you with the opportunity to surf the net for 30 days; you are restricted to just 100MB usage. This plan costs N1000 and to subscribe, you only need to text 106 to 131.
- MTN 250MB Monthly Data Plan: This plan will gulp the sum N1300 from your wallet for a month and you will get just 200MB during the period. If you are okay with it then text 109 to 131 to get it.
- MTN 500 MB Monthly Data Plan: In an effort to give you more value, this MTN plan will provide you 500MB for N2000. If you can afford an extra N700 to add to N1300 to enjoy more 250MB data space, we advise you go for this plan. Send 110 to131 to be subscribed to this data bundle.
- MTN 1GB Monthly Plan: As far as I'm concerned, this data plan is really not cost effective if you compare it to the others. This plan costs N3500 for a meagre 1GB. If you wish to subscribe, then send 111 to 131.
Up until April 2013, MTN was giving out 250MB free when you purchase their Fastlink modem at N5000 and furthermore you get 50 percent monthly for the subsequent five months when you subscribe to 250MB or more.
The MTN Fastlink Device
MTN Fastlink mobile broadband device is of various brands, MTN E303, EI56G and so on. The Fastlink that is branded as MTN E156G is a USB stick and in actual fact a Huawei E156G. It comes with the following specifications:
- HSDPA/UMTS 2100MHz - it can be linked to almost any 3.5G cellular network world-wide if it were unlocked.
- EDGE/GPRS/GSM 1900/1800/900/850 MHz - it can connect to almost every GSM cellular network in the universe if it were unlocked.
- Though the HSDPA service data speed is up to 3.6Mbps but factually, speeds would differ
- SMS amenity -consumers can send and receive SMS while making use of the bundled software
- Micro SD card slot -can take a Micro SD of close to 4GB capacity and therefore double as a USB drive
- Plug and play -you need not install software from a CD. The software bundle on the device would need to be installed though, for computers and Macs.
Hold on, just before you resolve to purchase the MTN Fastlink, the following are the requirements:
- Windows 2000 SP4, Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista and we think it would work well on Windows 7. Furthermore, we were able to get it to work on Ubuntu 9.10
- Mac OS X 10.4 and 10.5 with up-to-the-minute upgrades
- Hardware system should meet the suggested requirements for the installed Operating System version
- Your display resolution should be 800 by600 or more
- Average USB interface
Setting Up MTN 3G / HSDPA
- Activate your SIM card
- The MTN Fastlink package you are given consist of only your 3G modem. You as well need to purchase a SIM card to go with it which only costs N100. In order for your modem to work, this SIM card must first be registered and activated. To do this you need to have the following information ready:
- Your IMEI number (see the outside of the modem box)
- Your SIM card number (it's provided with the SIM card)
Setting Up Your Modem
- Put the SIM card into the modem.
- Connect the modem to your PC.
- The MTN Fastlink software and modem drivers will now be installed automatically. You just have to follow instructions to get it installed within a limited period of time. If you use Mac, the installation is done via the use of the supplied CD plate.
- Once the CD is inserted, follow the on-screen prompts to finish the installation.
See screen shot below:
Connecting to the Internet
Open your MTN Fastlink software and click the Connect button:
The minute you are connected, you will be able to browse the net and send or receive e-mails.
Make certain you disconnect from the Internet when you are done surfing or e-mailing. To do this, click the Disconnect button in your MTN Fastlink software:
The MTN Fastlink disconnection interface
The Branded MTN Fastlink comes with 7 tabs, that is:
- Connection: here is where you initiate connection or disconnection to and fro the MTN network
- Statistics: provides a complete break-down of data usage and contains a graph
- Message: allows you to send and receive SMS and manage existing messages
- Phonebook: this is an address book that keeps contact particulars.
- Records: This comprise the Name, Cell Number, Office Number, Home Number, Email address, etc.
- Airtime: Allows you to check and load airtime. It is shared into post-paid and prepaid, to accommodate the two market segments.
- Internet: A click on this loads the MTN default network browser.
- Bundle plan: allows you to choose which of the bundle plans to subscribe to, and also check the position of an existing bundle. Though this service is for prepaid subscribers alone. The validation is through SMS.
When we put the mobile broadband service to a speed experiment applying speedtest.net; the screenshot below demonstrates the highest rapidity we got. You should know that speedtest.com utilised Vodafone Ghana's server for the experiment.
The outcomes shown in the screenshot above denotes an average of the several experiments we conducted. It indicates that MTN Nigeria provides a download speed of about 0.43 Mb per second and a meagre upload speed of 0.06Mb per second in addition to a high latent of 366ms.
This signifies that uploading heavy data applying the mobile broadband service would be a sluggish experience and making phone or video calls by way of the net would not be perfect owing to the high latency as shown in the ping experiment.
It is very important that you confirm 3G coverage in your vicinity before going for MTN's Fastlink mobile broadband service because all the advertised speeds by MTN lies in the coverage level. Following the marketing leaflet attached to the MTN Fastlink kit, 3G services is presently accessible in most parts of Lagos, Abuja, Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kano, Benin, Ibadan, Kaduna, Onitsha, Aba, Asaba, to mention but a few.
- You can connect it to just about any GSM cellular network in the world if it were unlocked. Although the E303 modem can be unlocked, it is much more difficult than the E156.
- The HSDPA service data rate is up to 3.6Mbps
- Users can send and receive text messages when using the bundled software
- It can accommodate a Micro SD of up to 4GB capacity and as a result double as a USB drive
- There is absolutely no need to install any software from a CD.
The MTN mobile broadband service was not without hiccups, at the time of extensive use.
- There are sporadic disconnections. The service does go off occasionally and link could be restored by cutting off and re-linking from the network. Once in a while, the downtime could last over an hour.
- SSL traffic: Sometimes, it is difficult to access secured websites. All access to URLs beginning with https:// was difficult and as a result secured chatting programs like the Yahoo Messenger and Skype failed to connect also. This error usually takes place at mid mornings.
- Not every websites are accessible: Some websites are not accessible in spite of repeated attempts, even when the mobile broadband service is performing at its peak. The continual error message you'll get is: 'No suitable nodes are available to serve your request.' A way to bypass this problem is the use of a proxy server.
- The data bundles provided are not very accommodating as it limits users' choices.
- Heavy users are compelled to subscribed to the 24/7 monthly plan even where they would need less than 3GB monthly.
- It is problematic to tell the status of usage once you have crossed the 1GB milestone.
- Finding out your data usage through text message from then on does not provide a precise figure of consumed data rather it only states that 2GB has been utilised. It is therefore hard for the user to tell when data usage is approaching near the 3GB boundary.
- Sometimes when you click on check data bundle, you get a message in Arabic or Chinese which we find very frustrating not know the remaining data bundle.
MTN Nigeria's Fastlink mobile broadband service provides high-speed internet connectivity most of the time and it is worth purchasing where mobile connectivity is required or fixed broadband choices are not accessible so long as you can live with the few cons that we stressed above.
It is also possible to enjoy the broadband service from MTN without actually purchasing their Fastlink modem. You could either surf on your smart phone itself or use your smart phone as a modem. When using the phone as a modem, you would need the following:
- A 3.5G-capable mobile phone
- Modem driver and dialling software: these are normally given on a CD and it's packed with the phone by the phone manufacturer, or still, you can download it from the Internet.
- A channel of connecting the phone to a PC: although Bluetooth is functionally okay but USB is better. The use of Infrared is out-of-date.
- An MTN data bundle subscription
MTN as well has a widespread coverage area that even extends outside Nigeria to some countries in Africa. When you are on roaming, you can use it anywhere in the world. MTN EDGE which provides a somewhat equally fast connectivity makes connectivity possible and accessible where the 3G coverage is absent.
Think you are unsatisfied and have not got the services you are looking for, don't get discouraged. All hope is not lost! MTN fast link internet mobile broadband is just one among the tons and tons of internet broadband available in Nigeria. Different telecommunication network have different types of mobile broadband. You need to also check them out as well. Hopefully between the network providers, MTN, Glo, Etisalat, Visa, Mtel and so on, you may find an internet broadband that may be better suited for your needs. Even though none of them is 100 percent efficient, you may be able to get at least a reasonable service satisfaction if not at all time but at least on the majority of occasions. Unsure where to get information regarding those other mobile broadband internet services in Nigeria, never mind, we are going to review all available mobile broadband in Nigeria telecom industry. Keep coming to the site for other updates and subsequent review articles on the rest of the mobile broadband.