Cell C’s new prepaid fixed-LTE tested in a smartphone – with surprising results

Cell C’s new Home Connecta Flexi performed exceptionally well when used as a mobile data service in a high-end smartphone.

This was revealed in drive tests performed by MyBroadband around Gauteng using Samsung Galaxy S9 and Huawei P40 Pro smartphones.

Cell C launched its new Home Connecta Flexi products last month, offering prepaid LTE plans starting at R59 for 5GB anytime data and 5GB after-hours data.

These products offer the most affordable prepaid LTE data in South Africa and are aimed at providing an alternative to home fibre connectivity.

Prices range from R59 for 10GB (5GB + 5GB) to R899 for 1TB of anytime data. Data which is not used is carried over for up to 60 days.

To put these prices in perspective, a 2GB prepaid data bundle with 1GB after-hours data from Cell C costs R95.

Cell C phone test

While Cell C’s new Home Connecta Flexi service is meant to be used in a router in a fixed location at home, it works in any LTE enabled device.

MyBroadband decided to see if it can be used in a smartphone as a mobile data service, considering 91% of all sites Cell C uses on its own and MTN’s networks are LTE enabled.

To test the service, MyBroadband purchased and activated a new Cell C SIM. Home Connecta Flexi only works on a new Cell C SIM.

We then migrated to the Home Connecta Flexi tariff plan by inserting the SIM into a smartphone and dialing *108*2#.

After activating the Home Connecta Flexi service, we recharged with R200 airtime and purchased a 100GB Home Connecta Flexi bundle for R199.

It was time to test Cell C’s fixed-LTE service in an environment it was not intended for – used in a smartphone at high speed across Gauteng.

Cell C fixed LTE coverage
Cell C fixed LTE coverage in a testing area

Cell C’s fixed-LTE coverage map shows only spotty coverage in the areas where MyBroadband did the drive tests.

We therefore expected connectivity problems and failed speed tests in many areas without fixed-LTE coverage. This did not happen.

Apart from three tests which were hampered by technical gremlins, not a single speed test failed.

The highest speeds were, in fact, achieved in areas where the Cell C map showed no coverage.

The top download speed was 89Mbps while the highest upload speed was 24Mbps. The median download speed was 32Mbps.

Latency was fairly consistent at around 20ms, which is suitable for most applications.

Considering many of these tests were performed at speeds above 100km/h inside a car, the performance far exceeded expectations.

Most tests showed much higher download speeds than upload speeds. This is what one would expect from a home broadband service.

MyBroadband’s drive tests showed that Cell C’s Home Connecta Flexi is suitable to be used in a smartphone as a data service.

It provides a great alternative to traditional prepaid data products, especially for people with dual-SIM phones.

It may even start to eat into Rain’s market share for those who are looking for a high-usage data service for their smartphone.


Test Results Summary

Cell C Home Connecta Flexi Test Summary
Measure Result
Highest Download Speed 88.70Mbps
Highest Upload Speed 23.80Mbps
Lowest Latency 18ms
Median Download Speed 32.42Mbps
Median Upload Speed 6.39Mbps
Median Latency 21ms

Raw Test Results

Cell C Home Connecta Flexi Raw Test Data
Date Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps) Latency (ms)
07.04.21 18:25 50.965 6.707 22
07.04.21 18:37 55.414 4.614 20
07.04.21 18:37 54.223 2.821 19
07.04.21 18:48 36.327 6.567 20
07.04.21 18:48 20.591 1.123 21
07.04.21 18:50 56.915 6.393 31
07.04.21 18:55 58.118 2.312 25
07.04.21 18:56 60.358 7.555 23
07.04.21 18:56 53.644 5.909 23
07.04.21 19:00 27.195 2.408 30
07.04.21 19:01 43.344 2.835 25
07.04.21 19:04 16.529 2.569 40
07.04.21 19:05 32.161 1.421 40
07.04.21 19:06 24.409 3.457 20
07.04.21 19:07 40.900 5.639 20
07.04.21 19:09 15.044 19.219 21
07.04.21 19:10 15.004 15.315 20
07.04.21 19:11 88.699 11.876 21
07.04.21 19:12 14.833 1.369 20
07.04.21 19:13 19.871 9.051 20
07.04.21 19:14 26.905 22.303 20
07.04.21 19:15 23.396 13.389 20
07.04.21 19:15 16.247 22.144 20
07.04.21 19:16 63.334 21.580 20
07.04.21 19:16 62.421 23.150 20
07.04.21 19:17 65.095 16.940 21
07.04.21 19:18 16.295 2.068 27
07.04.21 19:19 56.852 15.677 20
07.04.21 19:23 20.177 5.141 21
07.04.21 19:24 42.261 6.195 20
07.04.21 19:26 14.460 0.456 20
07.04.21 19:26 1.316 0.111 44
07.04.21 19:28 87.908 21.986 21
07.04.21 19:28 33.024 5.153 21
07.04.21 19:29 27.891 22.050 35
07.04.21 19:30 27.007 5.843 20
07.04.21 19:31 33.647 18.612 21
07.04.21 19:32 46.634 14.868 20
07.04.21 19:32 44.971 3.990 21
07.04.21 19:33 23.716 5.808 21
07.04.21 19:34 6.937 4.660 24
07.04.21 19:35 26.048 16.465 21
07.04.21 19:35 17.584 2.542 20
07.04.21 19:36 29.947 1.596 39
07.04.21 19:37 27.800 23.587 22
07.04.21 19:37 25.706 16.279 20
07.04.21 19:38 30.866 22.740 34
07.04.21 19:39 36.826 3.529 20
07.04.21 19:40 29.169 15.126 23
07.04.21 19:41 42.698 13.907 20
07.04.21 19:41 41.669 23.801 19
07.04.21 19:42 67.833 15.148 20
07.04.21 19:43 49.170 19.628 21
07.04.21 19:44 66.390 14.826 20
07.04.21 19:45 33.327 3.614 27
07.04.21 19:45 17.963 0.857 30
07.04.21 19:46 29.611 1.265 22
07.04.21 19:47 37.574 3.551 20
07.04.21 19:48 40.501 1.064 20
07.04.21 19:49 58.146 12.320 20
07.04.21 19:49 25.421 1.243 20
07.04.21 19:49 71.58 8.143 21
07.04.21 19:50 11.164 1.220 24
07.04.21 19:51 34.311 7.204 20
07.04.21 19:52 39.734 1.801 20
07.04.21 19:52 32.420 21.354 21
07.04.21 19:53 50.468 21.145 20
07.04.21 19:53 17.383 15.775 23
07.04.21 19:54 44.643 13.375 20
07.04.21 19:54 15.811 7.312 20
07.04.21 19:55 72.359 17.277 19
07.04.21 19:56 27.943 19.296 20
07.04.21 19:56 18.512 17.457 20
07.04.21 19:57 17.765 10.957 19
07.04.21 19:57 16.420 1.190 24
07.04.21 19:58 40.023 9.801 20
07.04.21 19:59 60.668 22.074 23
07.04.21 19:59 42.019 21.799 25
07.04.21 20:00 53.634 21.778 20
07.04.21 20:00 20.320 5.795 19
07.04.21 20:01 45.049 8.182 20
07.04.21 20:01 11.456 2.646 20
07.04.21 20:02 26.490 9.227 24
07.04.21 20:02 9.413 1.898 30
07.04.21 20:03 54.377 6.553 20
07.04.21 20:03 21.559 2.316 20
07.04.21 20:04 8.562 5.634 20
07.04.21 20:05 17.215 3.032 22
07.04.21 20:05 15.104 5.583 20
07.04.21 20:06 60.290 23.556 20
07.04.21 20:07 73.489 23.596 20
07.04.21 20:07 54.930 22.107 20
07.04.21 20:08 31.178 13.599 25
07.04.21 20:09 41.944 13.887 21
07.04.21 20:09 31.933 9.735 20
07.04.21 20:10 32.095 19.865 21
07.04.21 20:10 17.015 0.642 23
07.04.21 20:11 86.162 21.625 20
07.04.21 20:11 45.452 22.710 20
07.04.21 20:12 50.010 20.898 20
07.04.21 20:12 15.110 5.643 23
07.04.21 20:13 34.497 7.812 20
07.04.21 20:14 61.509 8.549 20
07.04.21 20:14 39.513 8.014 20
07.04.21 20:15 35.876 4.565 24
07.04.21 20:16 54.157 4.037 20
07.04.21 20:16 32.688 1.268 20
07.04.21 20:17 46.638 4.945 21
07.04.21 20:17 46.096 2.647 20
08.04.21 11:17 42.743 18.239 20
08.04.21 13:01 53.991 5.824 20
08.04.21 13:02 22.841 7.125 19
08.04.21 13:02 20.154 3.557 20
08.04.21 13:03 69.939 6.673 20
08.04.21 13:04 50.447 4.448 20
08.04.21 13:04 12.168 2.753 18
08.04.21 13:05 53.304 8.681 23
08.04.21 13:05 29.231 2.056 18
08.04.21 13:06 66.434 8.731 19
08.04.21 13:12 5.545 0.622 21
08.04.21 13:13 54.102 2.013 29
08.04.21 13:14 28.953 1.951 24
08.04.21 13:15 55.268 1.687 31
08.04.21 13:16 14.527 15.509 34
08.04.21 13:17 15.763 1.338 20
08.04.21 13:18 26.944 8.615 43
08.04.21 13:19 47.588 8.640 21
08.04.21 13:20 40.669 9.091 20
08.04.21 13:21 20.649 2.247 22
08.04.21 13:22 41.110 6.930 20
08.04.21 13:23 31.340 19.448 30
08.04.21 13:24 27.544 5.336 26
08.04.21 13:24 21.164 1.021 22
08.04.21 13:25 7.090 1.238 18
08.04.21 13:26 12.215 10.127 21
08.04.21 13:27 26.653 3.623 22
08.04.21 13:28 84.893 19.307 37
08.04.21 13:28 21.552 10.378 39
08.04.21 13:29 34.436 14.385 21
08.04.21 13:30 35.843 7.078 24
08.04.21 13:30 18.888 16.238 30
08.04.21 13:32 54.163 20.275 22
08.04.21 13:33 33.672 4.556 21
08.04.21 13:35 6.275 0.450 28
08.04.21 13:37 67.555 19.945 21
08.04.21 13:37 38.796 6.154 21
08.04.21 13:38 12.715 3.228 32
08.04.21 13:39 15.223 1.301 22
08.04.21 13:40 5.642 0.119 20
08.04.21 13:40 1.674 0.105 47
08.04.21 13:42 21.727 5.223 37
08.04.21 13:42 2.568 0.111 104
08.04.21 13:43 68.521 11.717 20
08.04.21 13:43 48.030 5.234 27
08.04.21 13:43 1.090 0.111 23
08.04.21 13:44 11.411 5.560 48
08.04.21 13:45 57.228 10.731 19
08.04.21 13:45 27.211 3.665 21
08.04.21 13:46 50.909 20.640 20
08.04.21 13:46 12.314 2.672 20
08.04.21 13:47 61.846 5.650 21
08.04.21 13:48 24.414 1.265 20
08.04.21 13:49 74.327 4.308 22
08.04.21 13:49 14.163 3.791 21
08.04.21 13:50 23.264 16.717 23
08.04.21 13:52 33.527 12.157 26
08.04.21 13:52 11.631 5.189 23
08.04.21 13:53 25.295 0.732 19
08.04.21 13:54 46.865 13.208 22
08.04.21 13:54 27.260 3.441 20
08.04.21 13:55 25.086 2.753 21
08.04.21 13:56 15.427 22.087 20
08.04.21 13:58 47.965 5.617 20
08.04.21 13:59 87.397 12.643 20
08.04.21 13:59 58.057 5.209 20
08.04.21 14:00 64.252 14.531 20
08.04.21 14:01 42.104 1.794 21

Now read: South Africa’s best ever prepaid LTE deals – from R59 for 10GB 

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Cell C’s new prepaid fixed-LTE tested in a smartphone – with surprising results