MTN beats Vodacom, Telkom, and Cell C in voice network quality

MTN has the best mobile voice network in South Africa and is the only operator meeting ICASA’s quality standards.

This was revealed in South Africa’s biggest-ever network quality testing project conducted by MyBroadband Insights in partnership with Analytico, Afristay, and Keysight distributor Coral-i.

The project determined the mobile voice network performance of Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom across South Africa.

Over the testing period between 20 March and 24 April, MyBroadband Insights travelled over 10,000 kilometres, made 93,912 calls, and recorded over 41,000 call minutes.

This project uses Keysight’s network testing platform, Nemo, to test a range of variables using high-end Samsung devices.

Network performance was measured according to the latest End-user and Subscriber Charter from the industry regulator ICASA.

The regulations require mobile operators to achieve an Average Call Setup Success Ratio (CSSR) of 98% and an Average Dropped Call Ratio (DCR) of below 3%.

It further requires an Average Call Setup Time (CST) of below 9 seconds and an Average Speech Quality Mean Opinion Score (MOS) of higher than 3.

MyBroadband used the globally recognised European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) specification to rank the mobile operators’ voice network quality.

The voice quality testing project measured the performance of the networks in all of South Africa’s major cities, small towns, and routes between them.

When looking at the entire country, MTN was the only network that passed all four ICASA requirements.

It successfully connected 98.20% of its calls and only dropped 2.37% while maintaining an average call setup time of 2.54s and a speech quality MOS of 4.21.

According to the ETSI reporting guidelines, MTN achieved a final score of 66.30%, making them the top network for call quality in South Africa.

Vodacom ranked second with a final score of 64.80% but failed two ICASA requirements.

Only 97.96% of Vodacom’s calls were connected successfully, and it dropped 3.41% of the connected calls.

Vodacom had the best average call setup time of only 1.82s and the second-best speech quality MOS of 3.87.

Cell C surprised by beating Telkom for third place, likely due to their partnership with MTN and Vodacom. It scored 54.00% and only failed the ICASA dropped call standard.

Telkom performed the worst overall, scoring only 48.80%. It failed one ICASA standard by dropping 4.12% of its calls.

The table below provides an overview of the voice network quality of Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom in South Africa.

South Africa Voice Network Quality Results
MTN Vodacom Cell C Telkom
Average Call Setup Time 2.54s 1.82s 8.20s 3.86s
Average Call Setup Success Ratio 98.20% 97.96% 98.04% 98.88%
Average Dropped Call Ratio 2.37% 3.41% 4.94% 4.12%
Average Speech Quality Mean Opinion Score (MOS) 4.21 3.87 3.86 3.50
Overall Score 66.30%

Now read: MTN dominates 4G speeds in South Africa

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MTN beats Vodacom, Telkom, and Cell C in voice network quality