These are the best and worst mobile networks in South Africa

 ·13 Apr 2021

MyBroadband Insights has published its Q1 2021 Mobile Network Quality Report, showing that MTN has the best mobile network in South Africa.

The report is based on 349,575 speed tests that were performed by thousands of MyBroadband Speed Test App users across South Africa between 1 January 2021 and 31 March 2021.

The research shows that South Africa had an average mobile download speed of 33.23Mbps and an average upload speed of 12.71Mbps.

MTN had the highest average download speed at 64.29Mbps, followed by Vodacom on 32.76Mbps, Telkom on 27.83Mbps, Cell C on 20.82Mbps and Rain on 10.58Mbps.

MyBroadband Insights said that MTN’s exceptional performance is a result of R50-billion infrastructure investment over the past five years to extend coverage, improve network quality, and increase speeds.

It added that it is noteworthy that the average speed of all the mobile operators – except for Rain – was significantly higher than a year ago.

“What makes the improved network performances particularly interesting is that it was possible despite a significant increase in traffic.

“The reason is the temporary spectrum which was issued to mobile operators during the lockdown. This temporary spectrum helped mobile networks to increase their network capacity and improve their average speeds during the lockdown.”

Rain was the only operator whose year-on-year performance declined. Its average download speed plunged from 15.20Mbps in Q1 2020 to 10.58Mbps in Q1 2021.

The decline in Rain’s network performance was likely a result of network congestion in some areas because of higher subscriber numbers.

How the data was calculated

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 9.73, followed by Vodacom on 5.65, Telkom on 5.17, Cell C on 4.36, and Rain on 3.40.

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

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