According to independent mobile network research firm Tutela, Vodacom outranks the other major mobile operators in South Africa. That is specifically with regards to the quality of its 4G and 5G coverage. It’s no good having the fastest download speeds if you can only achieve it once a month.
Vodacom comes out on top
From January to March 2022, Tutela investigated the mobile network experiences of South African consumers. That research entailed around 18.9 billion measurements across the major mobile network coverage areas in the country. The company then determined if the quality of the different mobile networks met or exceeded a predetermined set of key performance indicators (KPIs).
Those KPIs include the average download speed, upload speed, latency or ‘lag’, jitter, packet loss, and ‘time to first byte’. Tutela had two separate levels when measuring those KPIs. One indicated what would be a slow network in our books, called ‘core’, and the other showed an average network connection labelled ‘excellent’. The idea being the better network operator would exceed these thresholds more often than the competition. The thresholds for the two levels are as follows:
|Download Throughput||> 5 Mbps||> 1.5 Mbps|
|Upload Throughput||> 1.5 Mbps||> 500 Kbps|
|Latency||< 50 ms||< 100 ms|
|Jitter||< 12 ms||< 20 ms|
|Packet Discard||< 1%||< 4%|
|Time To First Byte||< 0.8 s||< 1.2 s|
With all that data, the company compiled and released the ‘Tutela mobile experience snapshot report April 2022’. That report ranked Vodacom as the best overall performing mobile network operator in the country in both the ‘core’ and ‘excellent’ categories.
Hold your Voda-horses
That isn’t to say Vodacom is the best at everything. In average speed tests, MTN outperformed Vodacom in download speed and only just lost out in upload speed. MTN also had better average latency with 18.1 ms against Vodacom’s 18.9 ms. Vodacom mopped up in jitter and packet discard averages, managing 4.1 ms average jitter. Compared to the 4.9, 5.1, and 5.2 ms of MTN, Telkom, and Cell C respectively, Vodacom is the clear winner.
This achievement could have something to do with Vodacom pouring money into its South African network. Vodacom South Africa’s Technology director Beverly Ngwenya said, “Vodacom’s R50 billion investment over the past five years into our South African network has clearly paid off.”
The newly acquired broadband spectrum that Vodacom spent R5.38 billion on in March will probably further improve the operator’s position. But there’s no time for Vodacom to rest on its laurels. MTN wasn’t too far behind in this study and Cell C recently announced it is bringing 5G coverage to its network. Nothing like a bit of competition to keep things fresh between the same three companies over the last twenty or so years.