MTN vs Vodacom in KwaZulu-Natal

MyBroadband recently tested the mobile network quality in KwaZulu-Natal as part of its countrywide mobile 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 throughput tests are conducted using the MyBroadband Speed Test App, running on our Samsung Galaxy S9 smartphone test bench.

A SIM Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom was used in the Galaxy S9 phones, and performance tests conducted at regular intervals while driving.

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

Coverage along the N2 and N3

The latest route was along the N2 and N3 in KZN. Thousands of speed tests were conducted along the route and in nearby cities and towns.

We then calculated the Network Quality Score for the region and for each of the towns, 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 other networks.

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


KwaZulu-Natal Mobile Network Quality

While Vodacom and MTN both offer great coverage, MTN had the best overall network quality along the route.

This is partly because MTN performed so well in Durban.

Including all the speed test data in the region, MTN achieved a slightly slower download speed overall than Vodacom – 26Mbps compared to 29Mbps.

However, MTN posted a much higher upload speed – 13Mbps vs 8Mbps – and better latency – 37ms vs 42ms.

East Coast N2, N3 Route


Richards Bay

Vodacom had the highest average download speed in Richards Bay at 23Mbps, and an upload speed of 7Mbps.

MTN’s average download speed in the town was 16Mbps, with upload throughput of 13Mbps.

Richards Bay Network Test


Mtunzini

MTN had the highest network quality score in Mtunzini, even though its average download speeds were slower than Vodacom’s – 19Mbps vs 24Mbps.

This is because it had a significantly better average upload speed and latency.

Mtunzini mobile network quality


Pietermaritzburg

Vodacom won in Pietermaritzburg, with an average download speed of 28Mbps and upload of 8Mbps.

MTN’s download speed was 22Mbps.

Pietermaritzburg mobile network quality


Port Shepstone

Vodacom achieved the highest average download speed of 30Mbps, while Telkom achieved 29Mbps.

MTN’s average download throughput was 22Mbps, but it had upload speeds of 12Mbps – much higher than Vodacom’s 7Mbps.

Port Shepstone mobile network quality


Where we stayed

Thanks to our project partner Afristay, we were well taken care of when it came time to rest.

Oliver’s Bed and Breakfast

Oliver's Bed and Breakfast Mtunzini

Oliver’s is a well-located and elegant bed and breakfast in Mtunzini.

We received excellent service, and breakfast was delicious and beautifully presented. The home-made condiments, especially the sweet pepper sauce, were a winner.


The Hilton Bush Lodge

Hilton Bush Lodge

The Hilton Bush Lodge is a self-catering venue with picturesque views of Howick.

The Guinea Fowl Suite in which we stayed can be used as the central area for a party of six, or it can be rented as three individual units, with inter-leading doors between the units locked.


Ocean Gaze Bed and Breakfast

Ocean Gaze

Ocean Gaze is an amazing house overlooking Ramsgate beach. A sliding door opens to the downstairs dining and living room, and the pool area.

We received excellent service at all times, and our host was accommodating of our schedule. Breakfast was perfectly prepared and tasty.


What we saw

Mtunzini zebra
Zebra in the Mtunzini bush.
Mtunzini Blue Flag beach
Blue Flag beach in Mtunzini.
Gateway Mall
Gateway Mall in Durban.
Pietermaritzburg Comrades starting line
Comrades starting line in Pietermaritzburg.
Pietermaritzburg
View of Pietermaritzburg.

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

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MTN vs Vodacom in KwaZulu-Natal