Although Vodacom’s network has the fastest 5G download speeds, MTN still offers the fastest overall speeds in South Africa. This is according to the latest South Africa Mobile Network Experience report from researchers Opensignal for the 90 days from May to July 2023.
The latest findings closely resemble those of the firm’s report from earlier this year, although since then it seems the gap has narrowed between MTN and Vodacom with the two sharing more wins across the tested metrics.
A mixed bag from South Africa’s networks
Vodacom’s network offers the fastest 5G download speed (as it did for the preceding three months) coming in at 215.8Mbps. This, according to report author, Robert Wyrzykowski, Opensignal’s senior analyst, is an “impressive lead over MTN, beating it by 50.7Mbps.” MTN, on the other hand, had the fastest 5G upload speeds, winning the award with a 21.7Mbps speed – a winning margin of 2.2Mbps over Vodacom.
But MTN is still leading the pack in overall speed awards. MTN’s “download speed experience” was 40.3Mbps, the first time the network operator has hit the 40Mbps mark, says Wyrzykowski. This is an “impressive boost” of 11.3Mbps (or 39.1%) in download speeds, widening its lead over second-placed Vodacom from 3.9 to 9.4Mbps. MTN also widened its “upload speed experience” margin over Vodacom from 0.9 to 1.2Mbps.
Opensignal’s “consistent quality” rating went to Vodacom with a score of 60.3%, with MTN 5.7% behind. Cell C took home the third spot with 43.2%.
“These scores reflect the proportion of tests that pass the requirements of consistent quality. This metric measures if the network is sufficient to support common mobile application requirements at a level that is ‘good enough’ for users to maintain (or complete) various typical demanding tasks on their devices. It assesses a number of experience indicators such as download speed, upload speed, latency, jitter, packet loss, and time to first byte,” Wyrzykowski explained.
Meanwhile, Telkom only won a single award outright – doubling up on the “availability” award it won last round.
“Our Telkom users connect to 3G or better services 98.2% of the time. This is around 1.8 percentage points ahead of Cell C, MTN and Vodacom, which all tie for second place with scores of 96.3-96.7%” says Wyrzykowski.
Cell C made it to the awards for the first time, he adds, jointly sharing the “podium for live video experience, games experience, and voice app experience – matching the performance of its competitors”.