Mobile network experience report puts MTN top in South Africa

Mobile network experience report puts MTN top in South Africa

Research group Opensignal has produced its latest analysis of the mobile network customer experience in South Africa, in which, it says, MTN again takes home the largest haul of awards.

The report examines the mobile network experience offered by the four main mobile network operators in South Africa — Telkom, Cell C, MTN and Vodacom — over a period of 90 days starting on 1 November 2023 and ending on 29 January 2024.

In this timescale MTN came first, appropriately enough, for both download and upload speed experience. Its users also have the fastest overall experience in South Africa. MTN users see average download speeds of 47Mbps, a major improvement on speeds in the previous report, and almost 50% faster than second-place Vodacom.

That said, Vodacom users enjoy the fastest average 5G download speeds in South Africa, though MTN tops the 5G upload speed charts. MTN users also have the best experience when playing multiplayer mobile games over cellular connections, both overall and when connected to 5G. 

But an important area in which MTN comes a close second – to Vodacom –is the consistent quality award. In 62.7% of tests Vodacom met the minimum thresholds to support more demanding commonly used mobile applications, such as video calling or uploading an image to social media. Cell C users have observed the largest improvement since the last report.

The context to this is interesting, however, as 4G and 5G don’t have it all their own way in South Africa. Opensignal mentions that the country’s 2G and 3G sunset deadline has been extended to December 2027 and that South Africa’s major operators are trying to prepare their customers for the migration.

However, recent Opensignal analysis shows that smartphone users in South Africa still spend a significant amount of time connected to older network generations, like 3G, or even 2G, which begs a few questions. Is this a matter of convenience? Or just prices? And will the four main mobile network operators in South Africa be able to convince everyone to migrate in good time?

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