7 December 2013

Why Blackberry Subscription Is Cheaper Than Other Data Plans in Nigeria


This will surely interest all mobile phone users in Nigeria. An interesting insight was recently thrown into the reason why the BIS (Blackberry Internet Subscription) is comparably cheaper than all other phone internet data plans in Nigeria put together.

Why Blackberry Subscription Is Cheaper Than Other Data Plans in Nigeria

One of the users of a popular Nigeria forum had ostensibly written to the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC, demanding an explanation on why mobile phone network providers, except for Blackberry, had continued to offer exorbitant data charges in the country.

This user goes ahead to publish a very interesting response from the NCC, which I have here reproduced. Please note that I deliberately emboldened some letters in the quote below for your attention.

The NCC as a regulator is responsible for promotion of fair competition in the communications industry and protection of communications services and facilities providers from misuse of market power or anti-competitive and unfair practices by other service or facilities providers or equipment suppliers.

The issue of data usage on Blackberry and Android smart phones has been generating a lot of comments lately and the Commission has a duty to protect and inform all stakeholders in the industry on all issues of concern.

RIM, the manufacturer of BlackBerry, utilizes a special compression algorithm to serve users of Blackberry handsets who have subscribed for Blackberry internet service. Whenever such a subscriber browses the internet and opens a webpage, a request is sent via the handset's browser requesting for the page to be downloaded to the phone. This request is channeled to RIM’s gateway in Canada, which fetches the webpage, compresses it and sends the compressed data back to the BlackBerry phone as a download.

On an Android phone, the request to open a webpage by telephone subscribers is sent to the gateway of the network operator which then processes the information and sends back the page to the Android phone as a download (the data is not compressed - thereby requiring more bandwidth).

The amount of bandwidth uploaded is identical between both Blackberry and Android phones, the difference lies in the fact that most of what subscribers do on their phones is to download content which varies on both. BlackBerry is indirectly subsidizing bandwidth by compressing the content downloaded by subscribers.

In effect, an internet subscriber using an Android smartphone to open a webpage may be downloading 100KB of data, while a subscriber using a Blackberry opening the very same webpage would be downloading 25KB due to the compression of data by RIM.

Bandwidth in Nigeria is an expensive resource, because most data is transferred wirelessly. This is the reason why the NCC is promoting wired infrastructure around the country through such projects as WIN (Wire Nigeria) as well promoting a Broadband Roadmap for the country which will greatly reduce the cost of bandwidth thereby reducing the cost of browsing the internet on smartphones.
Now this explanation supposedly advanced by the NCC seem to make a lot of sense on why BIS users pay so little for the same data usage that so many non-Blackberry users pay so much more for, a fact that has been generating a lot of comments online in the recent past, seeing that the issue of expensive data plans especially for Android smartphones is no longer a hidden topic.

Now that you and I understand why BIS might continue to be cheaper than other data bundles, what do we do? I think the wisest action will be to go buy a Blackberry phone.

What about you? What would you do?


  1. Nice post i really like this post.

  2. Thanks so much for putting this up. Really fantastic blog which is can helps others. thanks for your informative blog.
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