Few days after the launch of Google Stations free Wi-Fi in Nigerias commercial city, Lagos, I visited the
Here is how the network performed at various locations
1. Google Station at Landmark
“Google is no more here. As you can see, they are just removing the decorations and all equipment,” a hefty security guard at Landmark Event Centre on Oniru on Victoria Island extension told me as I approached the main gate. No, I'm here to check the Google free WiFi, even when Google is no more hosting the event, the internet setting is already here, I explain to him.
I show him my ID card and tell him I was here during the launch so I decided to check how effective the free internet is.
I had checked earlier if the WiFi coverage extended to the gate but it didn’t. I gain entrance and walk to the main hall entrance and there my phone prompts the availability of Google Station free wifi.
2. Google Station at The Palms
The Palms in Lekki, no one was using the service as at 7 pm, August 2, 2018, when I visited the mall.
3. Google Station at the University of Lagos
At the University of Lagos, Akoka, about 50 students gather at the portals' lodge of King Jaja Hotel, a hall of residence for male students. They are all with their gadgets (mobile phones and laptops) enjoying the Google free hotspot.
A 400-level student of the department of Business Administration, Tobi Sodipe tells Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa that “The Wifi is very good, it is like the best internet service I have used ever, the best.
“This is like 5 times or even 10 times faster than the normal internet, you cannot even compare it to MTN, Glo or Airtel internet.”
Sodipe says he uses it to download movies, educational materials and connect on social media platforms.
Another student, who refused to mention his name, tells me the internet works for 24 hours except when they switch it off.
“If you come at night, you will see more students, some of them don't even sleep. They enjoy the free internet overnight as the daytime is for lectures.”
The free WiFi is only available at King Jaja Hall for the male students and Moremi Hall for female students, but time does not permit me to confirm the service at Moremi Hall.
4. Google Station at the MMA 2 – Local Airport
Everything is silent at the arrival wing of the local airport. No one is aware of the free Wifi as passengers sit without accessing the internet.
Sodiq, a young entrepreneur who is waiting to pick up his friend, tells me he is not aware of the freebies and gives a thumb up as he brought out his phone to access the free service.
5. Google Station at Computer Village
The service is available at Otiba street inside the main market when I visit the area. The details of the speed and download speed are below.
6. Google Station at Ikeja Mall
At Ikeja Mall, I see five people using the internet as at the time I arrive. They all sitting adjacent the Shoprite entrance with their mobile phones accessing the internet through Google hotspot.
“Hello, are you connected to the Google free WiFi, can you show me how to connect,” I approach a young lady. She shows me how she connected and asks me to input my phone number. “Is it that that simple?” she smiles and replies, “Yes.”
Identifying herself as Tomi, she says she wanted to connect to a friend whom she had a date with and her data got exhausted so she prompted her phone for free Wi-Fi around the mall.
On her experience, she says she is not a regular user and cannot speak much about the free service but with the little she’s done on WhatsApp and Instagram for about 20 minutes, she really enjoys it.
Here are my key findings
1. Google collects your data - mobile phone numbers for every access
2. At every location, you are being prompted to use your mobile phone number to generate an access code (a 4-digit pin)
3. The internet is 80% faster than Nigerian broadband and telecommunications internet
4. In all the locations, no sign or signpost shows you are in a free Wi-Fi zone.
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