MTN recently launched three uncapped mobile data packages in its MyMTN Home range, starting at R499 for a package promising up to 10Mbps speeds.
MyBroadband decided to put this package through its paces to see if it can be a reliable home Internet connection.
Customers have the option of taking out these offers on a 24-month contract with a free router included.
SIM-only packages are available at the same prices on a contract or a month-to-month deal, provided you have one of MTN’s supported 4G or 5G routers.
As we already had a ZTE MC801A 5G router in the office, we decided a month-to-month SIM-only offer would be our best option.
Unfortunately, this offer was not available online (like contracts), and we had to visit an MTN store to get the SIM.
That process required providing all of the typical documents and information you would need to apply for a contract, including an original ID, proof of address, a payslip, and three months’ bank statements.
After about an hour at an MTN store, we finally got our SIM, headed home and inserted it into the router.
However, we were unable to connect to the Internet. We tried resetting the router, entering MTN’s Internet APN settings, and various other fixed-LTE APNs but had no luck.
Calls to the MTN customer care centre did not help, as most agents could not provide the correct settings for the service.
A few hours into the next day, an MTN technical support team member provided us with the APN (“mymtnhome”) to get the router connected.
This should not be an issue for future customers, as MTN is working with router manufacturers to automatically roll out the necessary settings when a SIM is inserted.
We first conducted ten speed tests on the MyBroadband Speedtest site to see how fast and stable the connection was.
These we conducted in two groups of five, about an hour apart.
Although this was not intentional, the router connected to MTN’s 4G network during the first five tests and its 5G network during the last five.
On average, we achieved a download speed of 9.99Mbps, upload speed of 9.58Mbps, and ping of 17.3ms. These were very stable results for a wireless connection.
|MTN Uncapped 10Mbps speed tests|
Next, we connected to the Surfshark VPN service and performed more speed tests to see if MTN would throttle the connection.
Our findings showed no sign of such a policy, with the South African location nearly matching the speed of the VPN-less tests.
Connecting to a VPN server in the UK increased the latency, but this should be expected because the traffic travels a longer route. Despite this, the speeds were again comparable to the VPN-less connection.
The US VPN was considerably slower, though this was likely down to a server capacity issue.
|MTN Uncapped 10Mbps speed tests|
Video streaming was our next area of focus.
We assessed Netflix’s streaming resolution on its automatic quality setting while using the latest Microsoft Edge browser.
Without the VPN, an episode of Stranger Things went from 720p streaming at the start to 1080p in less than 20 seconds, showing the connection was more than fast enough for Full HD streaming.
Notably, using the UK-based VPN server to access a more extensive Netflix library, we could still achieve 1080p quality after about two minutes of playback.
On YouTube, we found that videos loaded without buffering at up to 1080p at 30fps.
Our gaming tests primarily focused on the stability of the connection on both locally and internationally hosted servers and the latency.
In Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, which has South African servers, latency was between 24ms and 28ms throughout several rounds and stable.
In Apex: Legends, we found latency ranged from 186ms to 191ms in-game on the London server.
Torrents were the only department where the package performed poorly, both with and without a VPN.
We tried downloading an Ubuntu Linux install image and a well-seeded 2GB video file, and the speed rarely went above 100kbps.
After about eight hours of trying to download the video, it was only 74% completed.
Given that both these torrents were well-seeded, it seems likely that MTN is throttling torrent downloads.
Most users will likely not be using the connection for mass downloading in any case, as it comes with a 400GB fair use policy that throttles the speed down to 2Mbps.