The best and worst mobile networks in South Africa

 ·8 Apr 2024

MyBroadband Insights has published the Q1 2024 Mobile Network Quality Report, which shows that MTN has the best mobile network in South Africa.

The report is based on 285,839 speed tests performed by 7,197 mobile data users across South Africa between 1 January 2024 and 31 March 2024.

The testing included data from crowdsourced users and dedicated drive tests, ensuring a balanced and accurate representation of real-world network performance.

The research shows that South Africa had an average mobile download speed of 66.82 Mbps and an average upload speed of 15.42 Mbps.

MTN had the highest average download speed at 82.48 Mbps, followed by Vodacom at 77.45 Mbps, Cell C at 39.32 Mbps, and Telkom at 30.49 Mbps.

Rain had the worst performance, with an average download speed of 19.41 Mbps. It was well below the national average and out of sync with the rest of the industry.

MTN’s strong network performance comes on the back of investing R10 billion into its network over the last year.

MTN increased its capital expenditure in South Africa by 15% over the last year, which included upgrading infrastructure with advanced batteries and generators.

These power upgrades helped MTN to ensure reliable mobile services amidst ongoing electricity problems in South Africa.

While MTN reigned supreme in overall network quality, Vodacom has emerged as the best 5G network provider.

Vodacom has focused a large part of its network investment on its 5G rollout, which helped it to top the 5G speed rankings.

Despite Vodacom’s impressive 5G performance, MTN’s comprehensive network coverage and quality across LTE and 5G helped it to offer a superior overall service.

MTN achieved the best performance in Cape Town, eThekwini, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, and Nelson Mandela Bay. Vodacom reigned supreme in Johannesburg.

Another noteworthy finding was that Cell C significantly improved its network performance over the last year.

Cell C’s average download speed increased from 28.70 Mbps in Q1 2023 to 39.32 Mbps in Q1 2024.

This improvement helped Cell C to overtake Telkom and rank third behind MTN and Vodacom in network quality.

Best mobile network in South Africa

To determine the best mobile network in South Africa, a “Network Quality Score” was calculated for each network using download speed, upload speed, and latency.

The Network Quality Score out of 10 then shows how a network performed in relation to other networks.

MTN reigned supreme with a Network Quality Score of 9.66, followed by Vodacom at 8.14, Cell C at 6.09, Telkom at 5.24, and Rain at 4.75.

The table below provides an overview of the mobile network rankings in South Africa.

Read: MTN takes a massive hit

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