Some screenshots from the Huawei HiLink Smartphone app. The app even notifies you on your phone when the MiFi battery runs low.
Some screenshots from the Huawei HiLink Smartphone app. The app even notifies you on your phone when the MiFi battery runs low.

Being the internet citizen that I have become, I just must have the latest internet devices as the telcos and tech manufacturers churn them out. I must stay online, with the fastest speeds available, and at the best deals on the market. I was one of the first people to use the 3G modems and boy, was it fast back then! It blew my socks off. Sadly, with time it slowed down quite a bit.

When talk of 4G started going round, again I managed to get my hands on a 4G device as soon as the signal went live, the first being from Smile Communications. The speed was amazing, but I was disappointed because it couldn’t work at home, and since I was on holiday and based at home, that was a deal breaker for me. Smile has however since expanded and has wider coverage now.

More recently I have been alternating between the MTN 4G MiFi and the Vodafone 4G MiFi, so I can’t help but compare the two whenever I talk about one. The Vodafone MiFi is tempting because of the “unlimited” internet, whereas the MTN MiFi delivers speed “uncut”.

  1. Countrywide 4G coverage

The fact that I have 4G at my upcountry home is the best part! Earlier this year, MTN announced that they had countrywide 4G coverage. I was skeptical at first but when in a few weeks I had to take an unexpected trip to the North, I confirmed that indeed 4G was alive and kicking. It doesn’t cover the entire country, but major towns are covered. There’s a high chance that there’s coverage in the town where you went for Christmas holidays.

At the moment only MTN has the kind of 4G reach.

  1. Quick charge even when being used

The second thing that MTN’s Huawei made device has over the Vodafone is that I can easily charge while using it, and it will actually fill up. For some strange reason, if you charge the Vodafone device when it’s on, it just can’t even get a bar of charge, and yet in 2015 you may not have the luxury of switching off the internet to charge. When you’re upcountry for Christmas and you’ve got everyone tapping your MiFi, its 10 internet addicts who need to juice up while online!

  1. HiLink Smartphone app gives you control on the move

When you have a device that has no screen or buttons beyond the power button, it’s essential to have a properly featured interface for you to control and monitor the mifi. Both devices have the web based interface that is standard on routers, but when you’re mobile, the Huawei HiLink comes in like a knight in shining armor and saves the day.

The Android app installed on my phone gives me control over the device in a way that the web interface just cant. In one glance, you can see lots of information, including the signal strength, battery, messages, data usage and the users connected. Then the settings are logically placed, and easy to use on mobile.

  1. Speed uncapped, uncut

I got onto Vodafone when they launched with the unlimited (read 35 GB) package with a mifi, but I didn’t read the fine print. The speed is throttled to 2 Mbps, so you don’t actually enjoy 4G speeds. This could be OK if you simply want to line up torrents that will download overnight or when you aren’t using the computer, but for real usage, the MTN 4G MiFi that comes with the full speed capacity beats it.

Overall, the Huawei MiFi from MTN Uganda is a neat package to get you on 4G in more places than just Kampala CBD, and I must say it has lived up to the hype.

Enjoy the holidays!

  • joshtwin

    I’ve totally failed to make sense of that charging thing on the Vodafone devices! Even low end smartphones are able to charge when on, why can’t an official ISP device?