Network vendors compared — Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, and Ericsson

MyBroadband’s Q1 2022 speed test data revealed that South Africans enjoy the fastest mobile network performance on radio equipment from Huawei.

The report is based on over 300,000 speed tests performed by MyBroadband speed test app users and controlled drive tests.

MyBroadband’s speed test servers are hosted at Teraco’s vendor-neutral data centres to ensure a carrier agnostic testing environment.

Through NAPAfrica, all network operators present at its peering points are provided with a free 10 Gbps connection to MyBroadband’s speed test platform.

MyBroadband used the speed test results to look at the average speed that users get from the network equipment vendors Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, and Ericsson.

Mobile operators typically use two or more network vendors for their networks. Telkom is the exception.

  • Vodacom uses Huawei and Nokia
  • MTN uses Huawei, ZTE, and Ericsson
  • Rain uses Huawei and Nokia
  • Telkom uses only Huawei

While there is a difference in performance between radio access vendor equipment, other factors also impact the performance.

Core network architecture, backhaul capacity, and network optimisation may influence performance.

It is also dependent on the investment of mobile operators in specific areas. For example, operators will typically spend more on networks in cities, which translates into higher speeds in metropoles.

Even with these factors in mind, seeing how the different vendors compare on speed is interesting.


Vodacom

Vodacom uses Huawei and Nokia radio equipment. Huawei reigned supreme in download and upload speed, while Nokia offered slightly lower latency.

Vodacom Vendors
Vendor Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps) Average Latency (ms)
Huawei 47.95 17.86 49.55
Nokia 37.80 11.85 44.72

MTN

MTN makes use of three different vendors – Ericsson, Huawei and ZTE. Huawei performed the best in MTN’s network, with Ericsson following closely. ZTE had far lower speeds, but it offered the lowest latency.

MTN Vendors
Vendor Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps) Latency (ms)
Huawei 94.23 25.38 53.79
Ericsson 81.20 26.12 54.40
ZTE 53.56 35.19 44.48

Rain

Like Vodacom, Rain makes use of Nokia and Huawei radio equipment. Rain users covered by Huawei equipment received better speeds and latency.

Rain Vendors
Vendor Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps) Latency (ms)
Huawei 16.98 11.09 32.38
Nokia 9.97 7.92 41.02

Telkom

Telkom’s entire network is based on Huawei equipment, with average performance between what Rain and Vodacom achieved on Huawei equipment.

Telkom Vendors
Vendor Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps) Latency (ms)
Huawei 28.46 11.38 46.79

Vendor performance summary

Mobile Network Equipment Vendors
Network Vendor Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps) Latency (ms)
MTN Huawei 94.23 25.38 53.79
MTN Ericsson 81.20 26.12 54.40
MTN ZTE 53.56 35.19 44.48
Vodacom Huawei 47.95 17.86 49.55
Vodacom Nokia 37.80 11.85 44.72
Telkom Huawei 28.46 11.38 46.79
Rain Huawei 16.98 11.09 32.38
Rain Nokia 9.97 7.92 41.02

Now read: South Africa’s top ISP at the start of 2022 revealed

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Network vendors compared — Huawei, Nokia, ZTE, and Ericsson