Nov 14, 2019

Spectranet Blaze CPE 4G Router Review and Guide

The Spectranet Blaze CPE 4G LTE router is the latest router that Spectranet launched a few days ago. It is an upgrade and replacement to the Zoom CPE.

I'll be reviewing this new Spectranet Blaze CPE right away, and also guide you to make the right decision on whether or not to buy this 4G router.

Please note that this review is not sponsored by Spectranet or any other company. With that said, you should know that this review would be very unbiased. So let's begin.

Spectranet Blaze CPE - A perfect upgrade to the Zoom CPE?

Spectranet Blaze CPE Review

My Experience:


Two weeks ago, I and my brother decided to get a wireless router for home use. After much search and reading numerous reviews, we finally settled for one from Spectranet, which at the time was the Zoom CPE since it was the only Spectranet home router with far enough range that could suit our house.

I quickly browsed through Spectranet's website and found that the Zoom router we wanted was selling for 25000 Naira, with an unlimited Gold plan inclusive.

Spectranet Zoom

That's a good deal, we thought. So we got the money ready and I headed out to one of the closest Spectranet stores in Gwarinpa, Abuja, to purchase the router.

Before heading out, I had already called a Spectranet sales agent that I enquired about Spectranet and exchanged numbers with some time ago.

I asked her if she still had the Zoom CPE but she said No, that she had finished selling the stock that she had.

She, therefore, directed me to their Gwarinpa branch, though I had already seen this branch while searching for Spectranet stores on Google Maps.

I got to the Spectranet store at Gwarinpa on Friday, 1st November 2019, at a Plaza named "Pathfield", just after the more popular Chambian plaza.

I walked into the store and my eyes were met with four energetic staff sitting behind the counter, 3 females and a male. Their faces weren't scary, nor were their voices, lol.

My eyes were sharp enough to notice a couple of Zoom CPE routers on the table which the staff was using to work.

One of the ladies quickly asked me "Good day Sir, how may I help you?", I told her what my mission was, which of course was to buy a Zoom CPE router.

She told me that they no longer have it. But that they are expecting a restock to arrive the next day.

The second lady (I later found that her name was Mrs. Nana), a very jovial kind, quickly affirmed to what her colleague had just told me.

She continued with her jovial words of encouragement, encouraging me to be patient till the next day when their stock would arrive.

I went on to enquire why they, being one of the biggest Spectranet stores in the state would not have such an important gadget in stock at all times.

She then told me the reason, one that made me very comfortable and skeptical at the same time.

The reason she gave was that the company was getting rid of the Zoom CPE as they wanted to introduce a better and more battery efficient device, the Blaze CPE.

Spectranet Router

She confirmed that they still had one Zoom CPE router remaining but have been instructed to stop selling it, so she wouldn't sell that to me.

I asked her why such instruction was given and she told me that it was because the Zoom CPE had some problems which have been fixed on the new Blaze CPE.

She showed me pictures of the Blaze CPE on a Spectranet flier which she had on her phone. That was one of the few places where any detail or picture of the new router could be seen, aside from a picture of it which I had seen online prior to visiting the store.

That was because Spectranet had not updated their website with details of the new 4G router at the time.

She collected my phone number and urged me to be patient, that she would give me a call once the stock of Blaze CPE router arrives the next day, or on Monday as one of her colleagues had informed her.

From the details on the flier, I could see that customers would be able to buy the Spectranet Blaze router in either of two options.

There was an option to buy the router with a 60GB monthly plan + free night browsing for 20000 Naira.

Buy Spectranet Blaze CPE

The second purchase option was the same offer as the one I saw for the Zoom CPE, which is a Blaze CPE + an unlimited monthly Gold plan for 25000 Naira.

I left the store with different thoughts running through my mind.

One of which was if I should go for the 60GB purchase option instead when I get the call, or if I should go for a different network entirely.

The only network I could think of was Ntel, but that was indeed a very bad thought.

I already have an Ntel SIM which I use with my phone and MiFi, the network recently hasn't been anything to write home about.

From the slow internet speed, the regular increase of the price of data plans to the inconsistent connection that the Ntel network is known for, I quickly removed the thought of it from my mind. 

On Monday, 4th November 2019, at around 1PM, I got a call from Mrs. Nana. She informed me that the Blaze CPE was now available in their store.

I left with my brother immediately and after a short while on the road, we arrived at their store.

I was shown the new Blaze CPE router and without wasting any time, I quickly made known my dissatisfaction with the fact that it only had one Ethernet port, the Zoom CPE that it's meant to replace had four.

Spectranet Ethernet

I went ahead to check the other specs and features on it, and should I say I was impressed? Well, not really.

Blaze CPE Features

I was told that the Blaze CPE would be an upgrade to the Zoom CPE, but the specs looked almost identical to me, with the Zoom even having better specs in some cases, like the number of Ethernet ports which I just talked about.

However, I and my Bros had already made up our minds, we weren't ready to go back home without a router.

I quickly filled the necessary KYC document, submitted my National ID card (Paper NIN edition, if you know what I mean, lol), and they took a passport photograph of me.

The two POS machines in the store rejected my debit card, I guess the issue was from my bank, Guaranty Trust Bank.

I quickly went out and withdrew the sum of 25000 Naira from a nearby ATM, went back in and made the payment to Mrs. Mariam (one of the three female staff), then she coupled and handed me the device.

And off we went with our new Blaze CPE router, with SIM and battery already inserted.

We arrived home and powered on the router, it took a couple of seconds to initialize and then we were greeted with three signal bars out of the five on the front of the Blaze CPE.

The blue indicator lights on the Blaze CPE are really beautiful and bright.

New Spectranet Router

The power indicator turns orange when the battery is low, blinks when the device is powered on and charging, and stays still when the battery is full.

I was disappointed that there is no way to tell if the router is charging when connected to A.C and powered off, the lights do not come on unless when powered on.

We updated a few apps on the Google play store to test the network speed, we were comfortably going over a megabyte per second, and it occasionally went as high as 4 megabytes per second.

I turned off the WiFi connection on the router using the Wifi button on the back of the device and plugged it in with the 12V - 1Amp charger supplied in the box so it could charge properly.

Spectranet Charger

It took around 3 to 4 hours to get it fully charged. I powered it on and started my speed test with Ookla's Speed test software.

I can confidently say that Spectranet doesn't really perform well on speed tests, I've done a speed test in two Spectranet stores including the one that I bought the router from and the results were absolutely unremarkable.

The results I got from testing in the stores were always less than 700KB/s (I'm talking about actual Kilobytes per second and not kilobits per second which some people are confusing it with).

The speed test I did at home wasn't any different. The upload speed was even settled at 0KB/s... Really!?

However, the ping results of the tests I've done at home were really good, the ping was always less than 50ms.


I went into Google play store to see the miracle of Google's "give me all your speed" protocol once more, lol.

As expected, I was still comfortably downloading at speeds between 1MB/s and 2MB/s, and occasionally hitting over 3MB/s.

At that point I was impressed, this shouldn't be a surprise when you consider the fact that Ntel wasn't giving me anything above 800KB/s on very good days.

Should you buy the Spectranet Blaze CPE? 

My Verdict:
We've used this router for more than a week, and from my experience I would say it's a YES. But don't take my word for it, your mileage may vary due to location and other circumstances.

The new Spectranet Blaze CPE 4G router has a couple of pros and cons.

Spectranet Blaze CPE Pros


The 2000 mAh battery is good enough, that's one of the selling points according to the members of staff I met at the Spectranet office.

Spectranet Battery

They hyped that the device could last up to 10 hours on the battery... Of course, it's only a marketing lie that can be pardoned. 

Though they weren't too far from the truth because the device stays on for around 6 hours when unplugged and actively in use. That's a pro.

Another pro is the range of its wireless connection, though I personally think it could be better.

When compared to my smaller Huawei Mifi I could tell that the Spectranet router has almost thrice the wireless range.

The size could also be a pro for you depending on where you want to use it, it is noticeably smaller than the older Zoom CPE but is nowhere close to being called a Mifi like the Spectranet Evo and Ace Mifi.

Spectranet Blaze CPE Cons


Let me talk about the cons now, starting with the inability to know whether or not the router is charging while it's turned off and plugged in.

All the lights just stay off like you didn't do anything.

I'm also very dissatisfied with its one Ethernet port, this would mean that one had to use an Ethernet splitter to connect the router to more than one computer via Ethernet. 

Blaze CPE Ethernet

This wasn't the case with the Zoom CPE that I saw in the Spectranet office when I visited.

Another thing you should be aware of is that this router supports only 2.4Ghz WiFi band, the ability to choose or use a 5Ghz WiFi band for any reason is non-existent.

This shouldn't be a problem for homes since it's usually best to use the 2.4Ghz WiFi band for better wall penetration and longer wireless range which the 5Ghz band is not known for.

However, the absence of a 5Ghz band could be a problem when you're using the router in close range, say on a table, very close to your laptop or desktop.

In such cases, it's sometimes best to use the 5Ghz WiFi band in order to avoid interference from other devices that are using the 2.4Ghz (which most household gadgets use).

The ability to unlock this router to use other network SIM cards is still very impossible. You should take note of that too.

Moreover, we don't even know yet if the router has support for other 4G bands, or if it supports only Spectranet's band 40.


What's in the box of the Spectranet Blaze CPE?


Free Spectranet
  • Spectranet Blaze CPE 4G LTE Router x1
  • 2000mAh Battery
  • Two Antennas
  • Gospell Tozed 12Volts 1Amp charger x1
  • Ethernet cable x1 (I haven't measured its length yet)
  • Device Manual x1
You should watch my quick unboxing and test video of the Spectranet Blaze CPE 4G LTE router below to get the full information of its contents and also see what they look like.

Spectranet Blaze CPE Quick Unboxing Video


Is Spectranet currently the best telecommunication company in Nigeria?


Spectranet has a lot of exciting data offers but they are still very far from being called the best, that's my two cents.

I've heard and read a lot of positive reviews about them, and some negative ones too.

One problem I've experienced on the network is some random times when the network would just go off and sometimes doesn't come back until I reboot the router.

Or maybe I'm usually not patient enough to wait over 15 minutes for it to return by itself before I manually reboot it.

Aside from that, we've all been having real fun at home with the network's performance.

I also want to mention that the "unlimited" Gold plan which Spectranet offers technically has a limit.

Spectranet data plans

Spectranet states that the internet speed would be throttled to a mere 512kb/s which is equal to just 64KB/s (8 kilobits = 1 Kilobyte) once 100GB has been used from the plan.

We're still about 10GB shy of using 100GB on the plan so I can't say what the experience is like, but I do know that 64KB/s would be unbearable, to say the least.

From my experience, I can say that only Ntel truly has an "unlimited" unlimited monthly plan.

The problem is that the slow speed of 512KB/s on the Ntel network may frustrate you to the point that you would just decide to dump it.

Spectranet's 4G LTE is quite fast when it's not throttled, though it's not as fast as MTN's 4G LTE which I've hit an amazing 12MB/s on some time ago while I was downloading.

I did go over 6MB/s for some seconds while downloading with Spectranet on one of its good days, so I feel that's good enough.

I would give Spectranet a 7/10 rating in general. Maybe they'll get a better rating from me when they introduce an unlimited plan that has no strings attached.

Talking about having no strings attached, Swift networks seem to have amazing data offers that are just too good to be true.

Swift data bundles

I noticed that they have data plans with unlimited night browsing that are usable from as early as 10PM to 8AM for as low as 3000 Naira.

This is also with some amount of capped data for day usage, with a 15 days validity.

If what they offering on paper is what it is in reality then I wouldn't hesitate to give them a 9/10, especially since I've seen screenshots of their internet speed to be around 2MB/s to 3MB/s.

The obvious reason why I went for Spectranet instead of Swift networks is that Swift is only currently available in Lagos, and I'm based in Abuja.

Which Nigerian Telecom Network's Router Should You Buy?


Finally, I'll end this article by saying this;

If you're in Lagos and you need a network that's cheap with lots of great promises which I'm yet to know if they really live up to since I haven't tried it, go for Swift networks.

If you're in need of a network that gives you a real unlimited data allowance for your money, and downloading files with less than 1MB/s internet speed is your thing, then go for Ntel Nigeria.

You want something in the middle of the two I just talked about? go for Spectranet.

Spectranet 4G LTE

Other networks you may want to try are Smile (Quite expensive), Tizeti (I recently heard about this one, I've never seen it in action), or our very popular Nigeria telecom networks - MTN, Airtel, Etisalat, Glo (ranked by internet speed, with MTN being the fastest).

I hope you found this review helpful, if you did, please leave a comment and also share this article with your friends using the social share buttons below.

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I plan to write an article to guide you on how to connect the Spectranet Blaze CPE to any device, both wirelessly and wired, soon on this blog. Therefore you should make sure to hang around so you don't miss it.

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See you later, stay Techy! Enjoy Tech.


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Author:

Confy Scenty is a Unique Tech Blogger whose aim is to make an impact in Technology. Tech is my passion, it is my calling and I'm always happy to answer to it.

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