Broadband speed comparison — MTN, Afrihost, and Cell C

Testing by MyBroadband revealed that MTN and Afrihost have similar mobile data speeds, while Cell C had by far the worst performance.

This comparison is interesting because Afrihost and Cell C both use MTN’s network, but in different ways.

Afrihost uses MTN’s LTE and 5G networks to offer fixed broadband services, while Cell C’s network operates on independent infrastructure.

Cell C does not share spectrum with MTN. Instead, each mobile operator uses its own radio network capacity to serve its customers.

There is a roaming agreement between MTN and Cell C, but it still operates its own core and transmission networks.

With these differences in mind, MyBroadband tested the Internet speeds of MTN, Afrihost, and Cell C’s fixed broadband services.

We conducted the tests using a ZTE MC801A 5G capable router, which remained in the same sport for all the tests.

Three speed tests were done using the MyBroadband Speed Test portal, and we calculated the average speed for each service.

MTN and Afrihost’s SIMs could connect to 4G and 5G networks, while Cell C only connected to a 4G network.

Afrihost had the best 4G performance with an average download speed of 129.62 Mbps, with MTN close behind at 124.74 Mbps.

Cell C had a comparatively poor performance with an average download speed of 33.74 Mbps on its Home Connecta service. Cell C’s prepaid service performed even worse with 19.05 Mbps.

Upload speeds were no different. Afrihost topped the list with 32.74 Mbps, followed by MTN on 25.41 Mbps, and Cell C with 7.97 Mbps.

Speeds increased significantly on 5G. Afrihost recorded an average download speed of 508.60 Mbps, while MTN had an average of 445.79 Mbps.

Upload speeds increased to around 85Mbps for both.

It was surprising that Afrihost consistently performed better than MTN on its own radio access network, regardless of whether 4G or 5G connectivity was available.

The table below provides an overview of the mobile broadband speed tests for MTN, Afrihost, and Cell C.

4G and 5G Speed Test Results
Network Download Speed Upload Speed Latency
Afrihost 5G 509 Mbps 87 Mbps 12 ms
MTN 5G 446 Mbps 85 Mbps 15 ms
Afrihost 130 Mbps 33 Mbps 18 ms
MTN 125 Mbps 25 Mbps 19 ms
Cell C Home Connecta 34 Mbps 7 Mbps 18 ms
Cell C Prepaid 19 Mbps 8 Mbps 18 ms

Now read: Wireless ISPs achieve speeds up to 100Mbps in South Africa

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Broadband speed comparison — MTN, Afrihost, and Cell C