Mobile Networks Update: South Africa (March 2018)

In August OpenSignal took its first look at South Africa in its State of Mobile Networks report. Now it's time to revisit our numbers. In our first Mobile Networks Update for the region, we looked at all of the changes in our 3G and 4G measurements for South Africa's four nationwide operators over the ensuing six months.

  • MTN has jumped out ahead in 4G availability. Six months ago, MTN and Vodacom were statistically tied in our LTE availability metric, but since then MTN's score grew by three percentage points, while Vodacom's availability held steady. Our users were able to find a 4G signal on MTN 73.9% of the time in this most recent test period.
  • We still see two distinct tiers of 4G speed in South Africa. Our tests showed that MTN and Vodacom offered the faster connections as both tied for our 4G speed award with average downloads of 22 Mbps. Meanwhile Cell C and Telkom occupied the lower tier, both averaging 4G downloads below 16 Mbps.
  • Typical every day mobile data speeds experienced by consumers are steadily improving throughout South Africa. All four operators saw their overall speed scores grow in the last six months in our measurements, but they all went about improving their scores in different ways. MTN boosted its LTE reach, allowing it to offer faster 4G connections to consumers more often. Cell C's tested 4G speeds increased, while both Telkom's 4G speed average and its 4G availability grew. Finally, while we didn't see much movement in Vodacom's 4G availability or 4G speed metrics, its overall speed got a boost from improvements to its 3G download score.

Report Facts

276,192,566
Measurements
23,778
Test Devices
2017-11-02 - 2018-01-31
Sample Period
South Africa
Report Location

Awards Table

Download Speed: 4G Download Speed: 3G Download Speed: Overall Latency: 4G Latency: 3G Availability: 4G

Cell C

MTN

medal medal medal medal

Telkom

Vodacom

medal medal medal medal medal

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Enjoyed our report? All our analysis is based on real measurements collected by millions of mobile network users. No simulations, no approximations: just real-world experience.

Performance by Metric

Download Speed: 4G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users.

Download Speed: 3G

This metric shows the average download speed for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users.

Download Speed: Overall

This metric shows the average download speed experienced by OpenSignal users across all of an operator's 3G and 4G networks. Overall speed doesn't just factor in 3G and LTE speeds, but also the availability of each network technology. Operators with lower LTE availability tend to have lower overall speeds because their customers spend more time connected to slower 3G networks.

Latency: 4G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on LTE connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Latency: 3G

This metric shows the average latency for each operator on 3G connections as measured by OpenSignal users. Latency, measured in milliseconds, is the delay data experiences as it makes a round trip through the network. A lower score in this metric is a sign of a more responsive network.

Availability: 4G

This metric shows the proportion of time OpenSignal users have an LTE connection available to them on each operator’s network. It's a measure of how often users can access a 4G network rather than a measure of geographic or population coverage.

Our Methodology

OpenSignal measures the real-world experience of consumers on mobile networks as they go about their daily lives. We collect 3 billion individual measurements every day from tens of millions of smartphones worldwide.

Our measurements are collected at all hours of the day, every day of the year, under conditions of normal usage, including inside buildings and outdoors, in cities and the countryside, and everywhere in between. By analyzing on-device measurements recorded in the places where subscribers actually live, work and travel, we report on mobile network service the way users truly experience it.

For this particular report, 276,192,566 datapoints were collected from 23,778 users during the period: 2017-11-02 - 2018-01-31.

We continually adapt our methodology to best represent the changing experience of consumers on mobile networks and, therefore, comparisons of the results to past reports should be considered indicative only. For more information on how we collect and analyze our data, see our methodology page.

For every metric we've calculated statistical confidence intervals and plotted them on all of the graphs. When confidence intervals overlap for a certain metric, our measured results are too close to declare a winner in a particular category. In those cases, we show a statistical draw. For this reason, some metrics have multiple operator winners.

©2018 OpenSignal, Inc. All rights reserved.

OpenSignal, Inc retains ownership of this report including all intellectual property rights, data, content, graphs & analysis. Reports produced by OpenSignal, Inc may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, published for any commercial purpose (including use in advertisements or other promotional content) without prior written consent.

Recent South Africa Reports

State of Mobile Networks: South Africa

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