The best and worst mobile networks in South Africa

 ·11 Jan 2022

MyBroadband Insights has published its 2021 Mobile Network Quality Report, highlighting the best and worst mobile networks in South Africa right now.

The MyBroadband Insights Network Quality Report uses a carefully designed methodology to accurately measure and compare the network performance of mobile operators. The data collection includes drive tests with a specialised testing vehicle and equipment and crowdsourced data.

The report is based on results from MyBroadband’s Android Speed Test App which were recorded between 1 January 2021 and 31 December 2021.

The speed test app runs connection tests to servers at NapAfrica’s Internet peering points in Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban to provide a vendor-neutral testing environment for download speed, upload speed and latency.

These servers are connected via a 10Gbps link to NapAfrica to ensure there is ample capacity for accurate speeds of even the fastest broadband connections.

The best network in South Africa

MTN was the top performer in all major South African cities, with one exception – Vodacom had the best network in East London.

MTN also had the highest average download speed at 64.23Mbps, followed by Vodacom at 35.05Mbps, Telkom on 27.23Mbps, Cell C on 19.26Mbps and Rain on 13.07Mbps.

“MTN’s exceptional performance results from outspending its rivals on infrastructure investment over the past five years,” MyBroadband Insights said.

“Vodacom has, however, started to outspend MTN last year and is keen to regain the top spot in the network quality rankings.”

Increase in speed 

MyBroadband’s data shows that the average network speed of South Africa’s mobile operators increased significantly in 2021 – despite higher data usage.

The research shows that South Africa had an average mobile download speed of 40.86Mbps and an average upload speed of 13.82Mbps last year.

This was partly made possible by temporary spectrum which was issued to Vodacom, MTN, Telkom, and Rain by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) during the lockdown.

The additional spectrum helped operators to increase their network capacity and improve their average network performance. Vodacom and MTN also launched 5G networks during the lockdown using the temporary spectrum.

A device analysis revealed that the peak speed of 751Mbps was achieved on a Huawei P40 Pro 5G, followed by 732Mbps on a Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G and 695Mbps on a Samsung Galaxy Note20 Ultra 5G.

Read: MTN files court papers against Telkom

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