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Speedtest confirms MTN mobile broadband leadership

Oookla’s Speedtest backs up crowdsourced data that had voted MTN as the fastest mobile network in South Africa

Data from Speedtest, the connectivity testing service from Ookla, has confirmed earlier claims that MTN has the fastest mobile network in South Africa.

Ookla’s Q1 Market Report on the state of South Africa’s mobile and fixed networks shows that MTN had the fastest mobile download Speed Score in South Africa during the first quarter of 2021 at 54.38Mbps. MTN also had the highest 4G Availability in the country with 90.5%.

This backs up the findings of a quarterly report issued by MyBroadband, which uses crowdsourced data from network users to measure network performance. Network Quality scores are allocated to each network based on performance with a maximum possible score of 10. MTN achieved a network quality score of 9.73 in comparison to the 5.65 achieved by its nearest competitor. 

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

It should be noted that MyBroadband users tend to be more connectivity-aware than the average South African Internet user, hence are more likely to have faster connections. This would explain the slower speeds – but same ranking – reported by Ookla.

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

“We have continued to maximise on the opportunity created by the increased spectrum, to expand and enhance our world-class network, we’ve been able to bring more people online and we have been able to reduce prices,” said MTN SA CEO, Godfrey Motsa. 

MTN SA chief technology and information officer Giovanni Chiarelli said MTN’s teams of technicians and engineers had not only maintained its network experience, but also improved it, despite huge shifting demands on data usage during the pandemic, along with operational challenges due to load shedding and theft.

The Ookla report also measured fixed-line broadband, primarily fibre access. It found Cool Ideas was the fastest fixed broadband provider in South Africa with a Speed Score of 37.80, followed by Afrihost at 31.32 and Webafrica at 30.87.

Johannesburg had the fastest mean fixed broadband download speed at 53.48 Mbps and the fastest download speed over mobile at 54.64 Mbps.

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