Vodacom vs MTN in the Free State

MyBroadband recently tested the mobile network quality in the Free State as part of its countrywide network testing project.

The MyBroadband mobile network testing project is conducted in partnership with Afristay and Samsung, and provides a comprehensive look at cellular network quality in South Africa.

Coverage and data tests are run using the MyBroadband Speed Test App on our Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone test bench.

SIMs from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom are used in the Galaxy S9 phones, and performance tests are conducted at regular intervals.

MyBroadband’s speed test servers are hosted in Teraco’s vendor-neutral data centres to ensure an impartial testing environment.

Welkom to Bloemfontein

The latest route was from Gauteng, through Welkom, to Bloemfontein – with thousands of speed tests conducted.

We then calculated the Network Quality Score for the region, which took download speed, upload speed, and latency into account.

The Network Quality Score out of 10 shows how the networks performed in relation to each other.

Understanding the maps below: Each of the small red dots indicate a test in that area. Larger red dots indicate multiple tests.

Free State Mobile Network Quality

South Africa’s big two networks offer great coverage in the Free State, with Vodacom narrowly beating MTN.

Vodacom hit 31Mbps, while MTN was at 28Mbps when it came to average download speeds.

Upload throughput was just as close, with Vodacom getting an average of 10Mbps, while MTN posted 12Mbps.

Telkom posted a great overall result, achieving an average download speed of 35Mbps, but its lower average upload speed – 6Mbps – counted against it.

Free State network quality Q2 2018


Vodacom’s victory in Welkom was convincing, with its average download speed of 30Mbps standing above the rest.

Welkom network quality test Q2 2018


South Africa’s two big mobile networks offered great coverage in Bloemfontein, but MTN took the win with an average download speed of 37Mbps, and an upload of 14Mbps.

Vodacom posted a solid average download throughput of 34Mbps and an upload speed of 11Mbps.

Where we stayed – Au Jardin and The Tredenham

Thanks to our project partner Afristay, we spent the night at the Au Jardin Guest House in Welkom, and The Tredenham outside Bloemfontein.

Welkom – Au Jardin Guest House

Accommodation - Au Jardin Entrance
Au Jardin entrance
Accommodation - Au Jardin Superior Room
Au Jardin Superior Room

Au Jardin is in the middle of Riebeeckstad and offers luxury accommodation.

Security is taken extremely seriously, with two magnetically-locked doors at the main entrance and a separate, secure parking lot available across the road.

On the night we checked in, the restaurant prepared a dinner just like your grandma used to make, complete with an excellent malva pudding.

However, the highlight of our stay was the spa bath installed in our luxury room at the guest house.

Bloemfontein — The Tredenham Boutique Hotel

Accommodation - The Tredenham entrance
The Tredenham entrance
Accommodation - The Tredenham room
The Tredenham room
Accommodation - The Tredenham hydroponics
Freshly grown herbs, fruit, and vegetables at The Tredenham with hydroponics

The Tredenham is an amazing guest house on the outskirts of Bloemfontein, located inside a security estate where springbok roam the grounds.

The hotel is modern, the service is excellent, and its rooms luxurious. We had everything we could need and more, including digital room controls to activate the underfloor heating and heated towel railings.

If that weren’t enough, our shower settings looked like a launch control panel, with five different shower heads activated through three discrete options.

On top of the smart rooms and amenities – gym, sauna, business centre, and tennis courts – The Tredenham also boasts a fantastic restaurant.

What we saw

Welkom sunset over Witpan
Sunset over Witpan in Welkom
Tree tower losing its leaves for winter
Tree-mast losing its leaves for winter
Eiffel cellphone Tower near Mangaung
Eiffel Tower cellphone mast near Mangaung
Free State Stadium - home of the Cheetahs
Free State Stadium – home of the Cheetahs
Bloemfontein view from Naval hill
View of Bloemfontein from Naval Hill
Bloemfontein Naval hill tortoise
Tortoise in the nature reserve on Naval Hill
Bloemfontein Naval Hill Planetarium
Planetarium on Naval Hill
Bloemfontein Naval hill big masts
Big masts on Naval Hill
Bloemfontein Naval hill Nelson Mandela
Statue of Nelson Mandela overlooking Bloemfontein
Bloemfontein The Tredenham springbok
Springbok inside The Tredenham grounds

Now read: How MTN became the best network in South Africa

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Vodacom vs MTN in the Free State