The best mobile data network in Bloemfontein – And we stayed at the Hobbit Hotel

MyBroadband recently tested the mobile network quality in Bloemfontein as part of its countrywide mobile network testing project, with MTN and Vodacom achieving impressive speeds.

The MyBroadband mobile network testing project is conducted in partnership with Afristay and Huawei, 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 Huawei Mate 20 Pro smartphones — the world’s first phone to support Cat. 21 LTE connections.

A SIM from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom, and Rain was installed in each of our test devices, and performance tests were 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.

Mobile Network Quality Score

Our latest route was along the N1, through Bloemfontein, before turning towards East London. Thousands of speed tests were conducted along the route and in nearby cities and towns.

More tests will be conducted in the Free State region on the return journey, at which time we will calculate the Network Quality Score for the entire province.

The Network Quality Score is a normalised and weighted mean, expressed as a score out of 10, which takes into account download speed, upload speed, and latency.

Each of the these three factors are weighted according to importance, which was derived from feedback obtained using the results of a MyBroadband survey conducted with IT professionals.

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

Bloemfontein Mobile Network Quality

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

MTN achieved higher download and upload speeds — 72.7Mbps and 21.9Mbps compared to Vodacom’s 63.3Mbps and 18.6Mbps.

Vodacom’s data network had the lowest average latency of 29ms. MTN’s 33ms average latency came in third after Rain’s 32ms.

Test map and Network Quality Scores for Bloemfontein during Q2 2019 tests


Where we stayed

Thanks to our project partner Afristay, we stayed not only in comfort, but also in fantasy geek paradise while in Bloemfontein.

Hobbit Hotel

The Hobbit Hotel, which pays homage to J.R.R Tolkien who was born in Bloemfontein, recreates a late 19th century aesthetic with painstakingly restored antiques, while offering modern amenities.

Some of Tolkien’s original pen drawings and other art for the first edition of The Hobbit are on display, as well as prints of artwork inspired by the Lord of the Rings films.

The staff really aim to please and went out of their way to try and make our stay exceptional. On top of that, the breakfast was delicious. Hobbit Hotel’s chef prepares one of the fluffiest omelettes I’ve ever had.

Hobbit Hotel 1

Hobbit Hotel 2

Hobbit Hotel 3

Hobbit Hotel 4

Hobbit Hotel 5

Hobbit Hotel 6

Portrait of JRR Tolkien in The Hobbit Hotel

Commemorative plaque in The Hobbit Hotel

Framed map of Middle Earth in The Hobbit Hotel

Painting titled Smaug flies round the Mountain, by JRR Tolkien in The Hobbit Hotel

Fangorn Forest, by JRR Tolkien

Riding down to Rivendell, by JRR Tolkien

Beorn's Hall, by JRR Tolkien

Conversations with Smaug, by JRR Tolkien

Library and lounge in the reception area at The Hobbit Hotel in Bloemfontein

Dining room in The Hobbit Hotel in Bloemfontein


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The best mobile data network in Bloemfontein – And we stayed at the Hobbit Hotel