We tested Glo’s data sharing feature and the new Glo Bolt service, like we said we would. Six testers, one data plan, over five states.
By now, some of you might be wondering why we haven’t published the results up till now. Sorry to have kept you waiting. We’re done testing, and here’s what we found. Warning — lots of screenshots.
For the sake of those who might not have been following our experiment, here’s why and what we did.
1. We think Glo’s data sharing feature is their best idea yet, and we needed an excuse to max it out. So we got us six people (myself inclusive) to use the same Glo data plan for two days, and see if it works.
2. Glo decided that they’d get into a pissing contest with Etisalat’s EasyBlaze. So we got each of our testers to do a speedtest at speedtest.net — just to see how fast Glo’s Bolt could run in each location.
Glo’s nationwide hotspot
The data sharing feature works all right. And like I’ve said before, it’s a big deal. There were just two of us in Lagos. The rest came from Delta, Ekiti, Enugu and Kwara, and we were all able to share the data, no problem. Of course, I had a bit of trouble figuring out how to get to the Glo self care portal in the first place, but after I did, — no thanks to Glo Customer Care — hooking each participant up was a breeze.
How fast is Glo Bolt?
Because there’s no way to cap usage, we had to resort to a gentleman’s agreement on data consumption. 500MB per participant might seem like a lot, but these are internet nerds we’re talking about here. In any case, whatever joy they might have experienced from the the prospect of free data for two days must have been dampened by the connection speeds. As per our agreement, each of them conducted speedtests on the network. Here’s what they sent in, state by state.
DELTA – Dfewgoodmen tested on both EDGE and 3G connections, maxing out at 866kbps.
EKITI – Olusheenor sent in just one test. At a pathetic 17kbps, I’m guessing he couldn’t have enjoyed the experience very much, although I find it hard to believe that Glo is really THAT bad in Ekiti. Maybe he was in one of their grey zones?
ENUGU – Kiyizoba couldn’t help wondering if we were on the same network. But compared to the doctor, he wasn’t doing too badly at just over 500kbps.
KWARA – Bamoburry was the most prolific of our testers, he sent in tons of tests — which is ironic considering that his speeds were basically crap, and the whole exercise must have been quite a chore instead of a boon. So I was glad that his enthusiasm was later rewarded in the night, when he finally managed to hit a record 1.19Mbps.
LAGOS – Mister Mobility got average speeds, nothing he wasn’t already used to. He did manage to coax 2.5Mbps out of the network at a few minutes to 12pm. Fast enough to stream video, with intermittent buffering of course.
And me? I’m also in Lagos, shuttling between the mainland and the Island on most days, which is exactly how my speedtests are — The first one at 4am on the mainland, the second at 8am on the Island.
Glo’s data sharing feature is the real deal – Six people is the limit to Glo’s nationwide hotspot, but it’s still a really, really useful feature to have for most families and small businesses, location regardless. For that, Glo gets full marks. Now, all I need is for Etisalat to copy their textbook, and if possible, add some handy extras, like individual data caps and usage analytics.
So how fast is Glo Bolt? Not very fast, if you ask us. Six people is hardly a big enough sample size from which definitive conclusions can be drawn. But the clear patterns from six people across the country can hardly be considered co-incidence either. From the speedtests we’ve seen so far, a couple of things are obvious.
1. Glo’s internet isn’t all that. It certainly doesn’t “bolt”.
2. The fact that it tends to work better at night (as indicated by the speedtests) suggests that their network infrastructure is too congested to reasonably handle daytime voice and data traffic.
3. Everyone agrees that Etisalat’s EasyBlaze deserves the title, simply because it blazes for most people. As far as I can see, Glo has merely slapped a snazzy moniker on the same old crappy service. Somebody needs to ask if they’re allowed to do that.
It’s really hard to call, this one, but in the end it comes down to personal preferences and circumstances. If you live in one of Glo’s grey zones (and there are many of those), then you certainly don’t want to put all your data options in their one basket. I for one would take decent internet over data sharing any day. But if you’ve got decent Glo internet in your locale — I refuse to call it “Bolt” for reasons previously stated — then sharing it with your devices and/or family is a good idea.
I wonder, what if we did an Etisalat versus Glo Bolt test? — possibly on a larger scale. Would you help out? I’m sure it’d be pretty interesting — even if we already have a good idea of who’d win it..or do we? Tell us what you think.
[Bolt image via Flickr/Nick Webb]