Which Mobile Provider Offers The Best Network Quality?

MyBroadband Insights recently released its Q4 2018 Mobile Network Quality Report, revealing which of our network providers excelled last year, and which should probably just be put out of their misery already.
Jason Snyman
2019-02-14

Between 1 October and 31 December 2018, thousands of South Africans used MyBroadband’s Android Speed Test App, conducting a total of 383 479 speed tests. This data was then used to compile the MyBroadband Insights Q4 2018 report on Mobile Network Quality. 

The results revealed that MTN offers the best mobile network quality in South Africa, beating out Vodacom, Rain, Telkom Mobile and Cell C.

Research shows that, during this period, South Africa had an average mobile download speed of 22.18MBps. MTN users enjoyed above-average download speeds of 26.95Mbps, narrowly beating out Vodacom at 26.78MBps.

Then we had Rain on 21.67Mbps, and Telkom and Cell C at 19.83Mbps and 15.56Mbps, respectively. 

Download speed, upload speed and latency for each network was used to calculate a Network Quality Score out of 10, in order to determine which was best. MTN came out on top with a solid 10.00, followed by Vodacom on 9.68, Rain on 8.04 and Telkom and Cell C pulling in Limpopo-matriculant type scores of 6.88 and 6.16. 

Director of MyBroadband Insights, Marius Hollenbach, said that the results were in line with expectations, and highlighted MTN’s network investment over the last few years – being significantly higher than Vodacom’s. 

The current results are now showing the benefits of this dedication. 

MTN

Where mobile operators have invested in their network, they have enjoyed results. Over the last four years, MTN has thrown R43.6 billion into expanding its 3G and LTE network coverage. 11 000 LTE sites have been launched, bringing the network provider’s 4G population coverage in SA up to 90%. It only took five years to take LTE coverage from 0% to 90%, which is an astounding amount of work in a very short amount of time. By comparison, 3G took a decade to reach 90%. 

On the MyBroadband results, MTN SA CEO, Godfrey Motsa, said:

We are delighted that our customers continue to be served by the best network in the country, as they deserve nothing less from us.
The R40 billion that we have spent in the past four years to strengthen and enhance our network has been exclusively in service of our customers, who are now benefitting from coverage, quality and speeds that are best in class.

MTN SA’s Chief Technology Officer, Giovanni Chiarelli, attributed the excellent network performance to the company’s focused, multi-year plan.

All our efforts are focused on how we can best connect our customers, which is why our significant investments in generators and batteries, for many of our sites, proved to be vital in mitigating the impact of the recent load shedding. Our back-up power systems meant our customers stayed connected, even when they were without power at their homes or workplaces,” he said.

MTN had a decent 2018. Not only did the network provider hit the above-mentioned 90% 4G population coverage, but it also continued to show improvement in bandwidth and latency throughout the year. 

Spectrum

2019 is shaping up to be an important year for the South African telecommunications sector. The inevitable release of 4G spectrum by ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) and the government, in line with Ramaphosa’s economic stimulus package, will boost network quality and delivery across the board. 

If we’re lucky, it may even lower the cost of data.

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