Vodacom claims it hit 2.4Gbps 5G speeds — we tested it

Vodacom has announced that it achieved 2.4Gbps throughput at a live site on its network, and MyBroadband testing confirmed the result — but with some caveats.

As proof of its claim, Vodacom attached a screenshot of a Netflix Fast.com speed test but did not provide any other details.

It even declined to reveal what device achieved the record test, describing it only as “a commercial smartphone”.

To its credit, Vodacom quickly responded to requests for more details, including providing the location of the site where it conducted the tests.

Armed with a Vodacom SIM, Huawei P40 Pro+, and a Samsung Galaxy S22+, MyBroadband visited the operator’s Midrand headquarters to perform our own tests.

Our results initially capped out at between 800Mbps and 1.1Gbps — impressive but nothing we haven’t seen before.

When we queried our results with high-level technical Vodacom personnel, the company dispatched senior network engineer Mkhuseli Makhambi to where we were performing our tests.

Makhambi explained that to achieve the higher speed tests, the device’s 5G carrier aggregation had to kick in.

Specifically, phones must have New Radio carrier aggregation capability for Vodacom’s 2.6GHz and 3.5GHz frequency spectrum bands.

Vodacom 5G test site

Vodacom said its 2.4Gbps result used all 80MHz in the 2.6Ghz band, and the 60Mhz in the 3.5GHz band that it bought at Icasa’s spectrum auction earlier this year.

Our 1.1Gbps test result was achieved using only a single carrier — the 80MHz in Vodacom’s 2.6GHz band.

Although activating carrier aggregation didn’t require changing any settings on our device, we had to jump through some hoops on our Samsung Galaxy S22+.

We ultimately achieved an impressive download throughput test of 1.8Gbps after conducting several tests after one another.

We also had to open a website in one browser tab, then quickly switch to another and launch the speed test to try and “trick” the phone into doing carrier aggregation.

While finicky, we did achieve extremely fast results on a stock-standard Galaxy S22+ — no other changes to the device or our mobile account were necessary.

To unlock even faster speeds, Vodacom explained that bypassing certain network elements like its TCP Optimiser is necessary.

Makhambi also conducted speed tests on a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and achieved carrier-aggregated speeds more consistently than our S22+ could.

His device recorded a 2.0Gbps test while we were watching.

This was around lunchtime at the Vodacom campus, when many staff members were out enjoying a meal and a quick YouTube video before returning to work.

We therefore have no difficulty believing that, during quieter periods, Vodacom’s test site could achieve speeds of 2.4Gbps on the latest-and-greatest 5G smartphones.

Words by Jan Vermeulen. Testing and photos by Wikus Steyn.

Now read: Goodbye Eskom — Vodacom to pilot buying all its power from independent producers

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Vodacom claims it hit 2.4Gbps 5G speeds — we tested it