H2H; Airtel vs MTN (Faster Internet Speed, Cheaper Data Plans, and Most Users). )

One factor contributing to the technological advancement of any society is its ability to communicate effectively within a short period of time over the internet. However, Internet communication is not possible without telecommunications operators, which allow effective internet communication.

Nigeria has been blessed with four primary telecommunication operators, which have added much to its technological advancements in effective communication. However, today we present a head-to-head between two of the four telecom operators in Nigeria presently; MTN and Airtel.

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Before we go into the actual business, let’s look at the origins of both networks.


Mobile Telephone Network, which is well known as MTN, was launched in 1994, and it was initially known as M-cell before being renamed MTN. MTN is a multinational mobile telecommunications brand. It was founded in South Africa by Sifiso Dabengwa and had its headquarters in Johannesburg. It is majorly functional in about 21 African countries and the Middle East.

However, MTN was founded in Nigeria on May 16th, 2001, and it has its own slogan everywhere you go. Its commercial activities began in Lagos, Abuja, and Port Harcourt and later spread to all the states in the country.


Airtel Nigeria, on the other hand, was founded in Nigeria on the 5th of August, 2001. It is also important to note that the Airtel network was sold many times, which led to a transition in its name and management.

In 2001, it was regarded as Econet NG, which, as a result of corruption and mismanagement, lost its management to Vodacom in 2004. Vodacom only lasted a few months before it lost its control to Vee Network in the same year (2004), and the network was called Vmobile.

Again, in May 2006, Vmobile Nigeria was sold for a billion dollars to Celtel. In 2008, another telecoms company called Zain bought Celtel for over $3 billion, and the entire management and identity of Celtel were transformed into Zain. Finally, in November 2010, Bharti Airtel purchased Zain at a rate of $10.7 billion, which led to the new “Airtel”.

With the above history of both networks in Nigeria, you must have observed that the two were founded in the same year but in different months. While MTN was launched on the 16th of May, Airtel had its foundation date on the 5th of August, both in 2001.

So now, let’s see which one has the highest number of users, faster Internet speed, a cheaper data plan, and many others.

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Which Has the Highest Number of Users?

On the 30th of June 2022, at its half-year unaudited results, MTN Nigeria Communications Plc (MTN Nigeria) declared that its mobile subscribers rose by 7.6 million to 74.1 million, and the active data subscribers moved by 13.2% to 36.8 million.

On the other hand, it was announced that Airtel Network gained 90,955 new subscriptions in June 2022 but dropped from second place to the third largest network operator in Nigeria. Nevertheless, its active subscribers rose from 58.1 million to 58.2 million at the end of July 2022.

In a nutshell, MTN Nigeria has 38.9% of mobile users in Nigeria with 74.1 million users, which is vast enough to doubt the Airtel users.

Which One Has Faster Internet Speed?

Although most people believe that the internet speed of a network depends on a user’s location, there are some places in Nigeria where MTN has a faster internet speed than Airtel and vice versa. However, according to the data gathered from speed test intelligence after analyzing the two networks in the second quarter of 2022, Airtel Nigeria was reported to exceed MTN Nigeria in Internet speed.

Airtel Nigeria has a median upload speed of 10.28 Mbps, and 30.35 Mbps download speed, topping 9.13 Mbps upload and 26.3 Mbps MTN.

Indeed, Airtel is a smartphone network.

Which Has Cheaper Data Plans?

There is little difference in data plan prices between networks; MTN is still the second network in Nigeria, after Glo, that provides affordable data plans and offers; it is no surprise that it has the most data subscribers. If you are familiar with both networks, I am sure you won’t disagree with me on this.

The only chance you can get the cheapest data plan from Airtel is through My Offer data plan, which varies according to the tariff, but with MTN, you can get the most affordable data plan through MTN Cheat Data Plan, Double Data Plan, Data4me, and many other amazing offers

Which Has Cheaper Call Rates?

With MTN Smooth Talk Plus, which is the cheapest prepaid tariff on MTN Network as of 2022, you can get a flat rate for all local network calls at 15 Kobo per second after 40 Kobo per second for the first minute of the day.

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2Good Classic is the cheapest Airtel tariff plan at the moment, with a call rate of 18 Koko per second for all network calls after you pay 5 Naira to gain access to the offer.

Which Is More Frustrating?

For this category, please permit me to say that MTN can frustrate its users’ lives more than Airtel. Although the two often have network failures, Airtel usually notifies its users before the loss of the network. But MTN could suffer from network failure without knowing its cause. However, to apologize for the inconvenience, the two often compensate their users.

What did we miss? Do you have anything to add? Who do you think is the winner of this edition? Let’s know in the comment section.