Mobile broadband speeds: SA versus US

South Africa’s mobile broadband speeds compare favorably with US networks according to recent reports.

PCMag tested eight 3G and 4G networks in 21 US cities and published the results in their “The Fastest Mobile Networks 2011” report. The speed test were performed using HTTP downloads on mobile handsets using custom speed test software from Sensorly.

According to PCMag, Verizon’s LTE system was much faster than other networks with an average national download speed of 9.46Mbps, peaking at 37.66Mbps.

Not all the US networks however performed at Verizon’s level. National download speeds for the other networks ranged between 0.48Mbps and 3.7Mbps.

Carrier Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps)
AT&T 2.44 0.82
Cricket 0.6 0.45
MetroPCS 1.62 1.07
Sprint 3G 0.48 0.35
Sprint 4G 2.99 0.75
T-Mobile 3.7 1.09
Verizon 3G 0.7 1.02
Verizon 4G 9.46 1.35
Average 2.75 0.86

The average US mobile broadband speed in PCMag’s test is 2.74Mbps while the average upload speed is 0.86Mbps.

When removing the two 4G networks from the list the average download and upload speeds drop to 1.59Mbps and 0.86Mbps respectively.

South African versus US mobile broadband speeds

While the testing methodologies are different, it is still instructional to compare US speeds with South Africa’s Speedtest.net results.

MyBroadband’s November 2011 speed test results rank Vodacom as the top mobile broadband provider with an average download speed of 4.59Mbps, followed by Cell C with 3.3Mbps.

Carrier Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps)
Vodacom 4.59 0.72
Cell C HSPA 3.3 1.16
8ta 3.08 1
MTN 2.9 1.02
Average 3.47 0.98

According to these results South Africa’s average mobile broadband speed is 3.47Mbps, higher than the US’s 2.74Mbps.

The following table compares South Africa and the United States’ mobile broadband speeds.

Carrier Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps)
SA 3.47 0.98
US (with 4G) 2.75 0.86
US (no 4G) 1.59 0.80

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Mobile broadband speeds: SA versus US