MyBroadband Insights has released the Q2 2020 Mobile Network Quality Report, which shows that MTN had the best mobile network in South Africa during the lockdown.
The report is based on 278,890 speed tests which were performed by thousands of MyBroadband Speed Test App users across South Africa between 1 April and 30 June 2020.
The research shows that South Africa had an average mobile download speed of 27.13Mbps and an average upload speed of 10.53Mbps.
MTN had the fastest average download speed at 52.28Mbps, followed by Vodacom on 29.08Mbps, Telkom on 20.16Mbps, Cell C on 17.62Mbps, and Rain on 10.64Mbps.
During the lockdown, there was greater pressure on mobile networks to maintain good service levels amidst the increased demand for data.
The increased data traffic, which rose by up to 50% during lockdown, would typically result in a decrease in network speeds.
This was not the case, however, thanks to temporary spectrum issued to mobile operators during the lockdown.
This temporary spectrum, issued to operators by ICASA in April, has helped mobile networks to maintain and even exceed their average speeds during the lockdown.
There was one exception – Rain. The average download speed on Rain’s network declined significantly during the lockdown despite receiving additional spectrum.
The reason is that the frequencies which ICASA allocated to Rain were not what they asked for and were not suitable for rapid deployment with their current radios.
This means Rain has to procure new radios to use the new spectrum – a process which they are currently busy with.
The chart below shows how the average download speed in South Africa changed over the last two years.
Best mobile network in South Africa
To determine the best mobile network in South Africa, a “Network Quality Score” was calculated for each network using download speed, upload speed, and latency.
The Network Quality Score out of 10 then shows how the network performed in relation to other networks.
MTN reigned supreme with a Network Quality Score of 9.94, followed by Vodacom on 6.17, Telkom on 4.81, Cell C on 4.51, and Rain on 4.24.
The table below provides an overview of the mobile network rankings in South Africa.
Change during the lockdown
MyBroadband Insights has also released data comparing the average download speed before and during the lockdown.
The research shows that the average download speed on MTN’s network increased by 20% during the lockdown.
It further shows that the download speed on Rain’s network declined by 30%, which is likely a result of network congestion.