Telkom’s network performance proves the importance of allocating spectrum

The allocation of temporary spectrum by ICASA to South African mobile operators in April has underscored how access to additional spectrum results in improved network performance.

Telkom is a great example of this, as evidenced by data collected by MyBroadband through its speed test application.

The mobile operator rolled out this additional spectrum in June 2020 and its customers immediately experienced improved network performance.

The experience of Telkom customers has continued to improve in the months following the rollout of this temporary spectrum.

This is despite South Africans consuming more data than they did before the national lockdown due to remote working and increased online entertainment consumption.

Major network improvements

To determine how the additional temporary spectrum affected Telkom’s network, MyBroadband measured the mobile operator’s average network performance across three data sets.

MyBroadband looked at three data sets:

  • Network performance from 1 January to 31 May 2020 – Before the temporary spectrum was rolled out.
  • Network performance from 1 June to 31 August 2020 – Immediately following the roll-out of temporary spectrum by Telkom.
  • Network performance from 1 September to 31 November 2020 – The months following this rollout.

The data from this investigation is clear – Telkom’s network has improved significantly as a result of the temporary spectrum allocation by ICASA.

Since the start of the national lockdown, and despite the increase in data usage, Telkom’s download and upload speeds have increased by 34% and 62% respectively.

Latency – which is critical for intensive tasks like gaming and running IoT devices – also improved by 34% over this period.

National
Before spectrum Immediately after spectrum Months after spectrum Improvement since start of lockdown
Download 20.45Mbps 23.78Mbps 27.39Mbps 34%
Upload 5.01Mbps 7.20Mbps 8.14Mbps 62%
Latency 44ms 29ms 29ms 34%

Johannesburg

Johannesburg
Before spectrum Immediately after spectrum Months after spectrum Improvement since start of lockdown
Download 15.95Mbps 21.07Mbps 26.74Mbps 68%
Upload 4.69Mbps 6.55Mbps 7.75Mbps 65%
Latency 41ms 29ms 26ms 37%
Test locations in Johannesburg

Pretoria

Pretoria
Before spectrum Immediately after spectrum Months after spectrum Improvement since start of lockdown
Download 14.67Mbps 20.13Mbps 26.29Mbps 79%
Upload 3.87Mbps 6.03Mbps 7.14Mbps 84%
Latency 35ms 26ms 25ms 29%
Test locations in Pretoria

Durban

Durban
Before spectrum Immediately after spectrum Months after spectrum Improvement since start of lockdown
Download 15.70Mbps 30.08Mbps 30.11Mbps 92%
Upload 3.90Mbps 8.37Mbps 7.16Mbps 84%
Latency 60ms 25ms 28ms 53%
Test locations in Durban

Cape Town

Cape Town
Before spectrum Immediately after spectrum Months after spectrum Improvement since start of lockdown
Download 19.47Mbps 16.90Mbps 28.96Mbps 49%
Upload 4.01Mbps 5.87Mbps 8.08Mbps 101%
Latency 30ms 42ms 24ms 20%
Test locations in Cape Town

As the lockdown restrictions eased, certain business districts and residential areas also showed big network improvements.

Telkom’s download speed in Sandton improved from 20.30Mbps during the lockdown to 31.93Mbps in the months after the additional spectrum was made available.

The upload speed in Sandton also increased by 62% from 5.26Mbps to 8.29Mbps.

In Midrand, the download speed increased from 20.26Mbps to 24.56Mbps and the upload speed increased from 4.81Mbps to 7.42Mbps.

As the lockdown restrictions are eased, data demand continues to increase, which indicates a change in subscriber data usage behaviour.

Additional spectrum is playing a crucial part in making the newly-developed post-COVID ecosystem sustainable.

Importance of spectrum auction

This data highlights the importance of the upcoming spectrum auction, which is set to take place in 2021.

The spectrum auction will allow mobile operators to acquire the spectrum that their mobile networks desperately need to ensure that South Africans receive high-speed, reliable connectivity.

It also underscores how important it is that ICASA continues to avail the temporary spectrum to mobile networks until the spectrum auction takes place.

Failure to do this will result in South African mobile network subscribers having an inferior experience when using mobile Internet.

Now read: Get 1GB free data for using the MTN app

Latest news

Partner Content

Show comments

Recommended

Share this article
Telkom’s network performance proves the importance of allocating spectrum