MyBroadband’s mobile network drive tests in January and February 2019 in Cape Town revealed that MTN has the best performance in the city by far.
The tests were conducted using two vehicles and three sets of high-end smartphones which ran a custom version of MyBroadband’s Android speed test app.
MyBroadband’s speed test servers are hosted in Teraco’s vendor-neutral data centres to ensure a neutral testing environment.
Through NAPAfrica, all network operators present at its peering points are provided with a free 10Gbps connection to the MyBroadband speed test platform.
The locations which were included in the Cape Town test were Bellville, Bloubergstrand, Brackenfell, Cape Town CBD, Durbanville, Fish Hoek, Goodwood, Hout Bay, Kraaifontein, and Milnerton.
Over 16,400 individual measurements were taken in these areas to compare the performance of South Africa’s mobile networks in the greater Cape Town area.
Aggregating all the data showed that MTN achieved the best overall performance with the highest download and upload speeds, and the lowest latency.
MTN also recorded the highest individual download speed result in Cape Town at 164.1Mbps.
New and improved test benches
MyBroadband has partnered with antenna and wireless communications specialist Poynting to improve its test bench design to ensure accurate network testing results.
Poynting is a global leader in the design and manufacturing of cellular antennas, which made it a perfect partner for this project.
With the help of Professor Andre Fourie and Dr. Derek Nitch, new test benches were designed to resolve various issues with the previous iteration.
Some of the improvements include a bigger distance between the phones, shorter charging cables, and stronger cases for air travel.
The photo below shows one of the new test benches with five Huawei Mate 20 Pro devices – the world’s first phone to support Cat. 21 LTE connections.
Cape Town drive results
The chart below compares MTN’s network performance in Cape Town with Vodacom, Cell C, Telkom, and Rain.
For this comparison a network quality score (NQS) was used, which provides a weighted aggregate of the mean download speeds, upload speeds, and latency for the individual operators.
The NQS gives a single measure of how the different cellular network operators perform relative to one another.
The results revealed that MTN had the highest average download speed at 36.8Mbps, the highest average upload speed at 14.1Mbps, and the lowest latency at 22ms.
A surprise result was Telkom’s good download speed, which was significantly higher than Vodacom’s and around double that of Cell C and Rain.
Individual suburb results
The sections below show the results per suburb and the locations where tests were conducted in these areas.
Each of the small red dots with the green circle around it indicates a test in that area. Larger red dots indicate multiple tests in the area.