MyBroadband recently tested the mobile network quality in the Eastern Cape as part of its countrywide mobile network testing project, including cities like East London and Port Elizabeth.
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 were installed in our test devices, 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.
Mobile Network Quality Score
One of our test routes was along the N1 to Bloemfontein, and then via the N6 to East London. Thousands of speed tests were conducted along the route, and in the cities themselves.
Averages for the download speed, upload speed, and latency measured for each network is calculated for the area, then combined into a Network Quality Score out of 10.
Each of the these three averages are normalised, then weighted according to importance. The weights for each of these key network performance indicators were derived from the results of a MyBroadband survey. The survey asked IT professionals how they rate the importance of download speed, upload speed, and latency when choosing a mobile data connection.
Understanding the maps below: Each of the red dots indicate a test in that area. Larger red dots indicate multiple tests in the area.
East London Mobile Network Quality
East London was a tight race between South Africa’s four main mobile network operators — MTN, Vodacom, Cell C, and Telkom.
MTN won by posting the highest average download and upload speed in the city — 22.6Mbps and 12.8Mbps — while Telkom, Vodacom, and Cell C were in a dead heat.
Telkom squeezed ahead of Vodacom by a fraction because of its slightly better download speeds (20.4Mbps vs. 20.3Mbps) and somewhat better average latency (49ms vs 55ms). However, Telkom’s own-network coverage in the city is much smaller than MTN or Vodacom.
Cell C achieved the best average latency (42ms), an average download speed of 16.6Mbps and upload speed of 10.9Mbps.
Where we stayed
Thanks to our project partner Afristay, we stayed in comfort while testing the cellular networks in East London.
Cloud 9 is a beautiful guest house built into the hill on the shores of the Gonubie River. It’s the kind of place where you can have a scenic getaway for two, or book multiple adjacent rooms for a friends and/or family vacation.
The owners welcomed us in person on the evening we arrived and were very accommodating. On top of that, they prepared an excellent breakfast for us in the morning.