We downloaded a 100MB file to see how much mobile data is used — with interesting results

An experiment by MyBroadband revealed that Vodacom and MTN recorded the highest data use when downloading a 100MB file from the Internet.

To test the data use on mobile operators, MyBroadband generated a 100MB binary file and uploaded it to WeTransfer.

We then downloaded the file using a Nokia 5 smartphone, using SIM cards from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom.

The data balance was checked before and after each download, with time given after a download to account for a slow update of the balance.

We started each download from scratch and reloaded the WeTransfer website with each new test.

As the WeTransfer site had to be loaded before the download could start, it is expected that slightly more than 100MB would be used for each download.

The file was downloaded twice on each network to account for background data use, with the average of the two tests being used.

Vodacom used the most data, with 104.15MB on average being deducted from the data balance.

MTN used 103.42MB on average, with Cell C and Telkom coming in at 101.54MB and 101.36MB, respectively.

It should be noted that the file downloaded significantly faster on MTN and Vodacom. The faster download speeds could be responsible for slightly more data being used by background processes.

The table below summarises the results of MyBroadband’s mobile data use experiment.

100MB File Download Test Results
Network
Average Data used to download 100MB file
Vodacom 104.15MB
MTN 103.42MB
Cell C 101.54MB
Telkom 101.36MB

Now read: Best mobile network in South Africa in 2021 — including city rankings

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We downloaded a 100MB file to see how much mobile data is used — with interesting results