The difference between Vodacom and MTN’s “Best Network” claims

The Advertising Standards Authority of South Africa (ASA) has ruled that Vodacom’s claim it was South Africa’s best network for three years in a row was misleading and must be retracted.

This is the latest in a long string of complaints lodged at the ASA related to “Best Network” claims in South Africa.

In the advertising which led to the complaint, Vodacom relied on customer satisfaction survey results from the South African Customer Satisfaction Index (SAcsi) for its claim.

Vodacom previously relied on results from speed tests by Ookla, MyBroadband, ATIO, and others for its “best network” claims.

When these speed test platforms showed that Vodacom no longer had the best network, however, the company moved to using SAcsi.

This created a situation where network quality tests by MyBroadband and P3 Communications showed MTN had the best network, while Vodacom claimed to have the best network based on a consumer survey.

Vodacom and MTN’s advertisements, which ran within a week of each other in February, are shown below.

Best Network

The difference between the claims

Consulta, the research company behind the SAcsi ratings, explained that its research is based on the internationally-licensed methodology that measures customer satisfaction.

The 2017 SAcsi report for mobile networks provided an index for the industry and reported on the index scores for 2016 and 2015, it said. Vodacom won in all three years.

“The SAcsi adopts a wider definition of the term Network, which includes the quality perceptions of technology components, products, services, and operations of the mobile networks,” said Consulta CEO Adre Schreuder.

“It does not only measure the technical GSM infrastructure of the mobile network, but includes network quality and performance as part of a much larger set of metrics.”

MTN’s claims are, in turn, based on the network quality measurements by MyBroadband and German-based P3 Communications.

The table below provides a summary of the differences between Vodacom and MTN’s “Best Network” claims.

Difference between Vodacom and MTN’s Claims
Metric MTN Vodacom
Which research is used MyBroadband and P3 Communications. SAcsi
How the data is collected Real-world drive tests and crowdsourced network tests. Consumer surveys.
What the research establishes The real-world network performance. The perception of consumers.
What is meant by “Network” The mobile network which users connect to. A mobile operator (the company).
What “Best Network” means The fastest mobile network in SA. The best mobile operator in SA.

Now read: Vodacom must stop calling itself “SA’s Best Network” – ASA

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The difference between Vodacom and MTN’s “Best Network” claims