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Global analytics reveal which of SA’s cell providers give the best mobile experience

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Opensignal crowdsources data collection from users themselves to give a realistic picture of a person’s experience.

Picture: Firmbee/Pixabay

OPENSIGNAL is an independent analytics company which releases reports on mobile networks around the world.

Rather than using drive testing (kitting out a vehicle with special communications equipment), Opensignal crowdsources data collection from users themselves to give a realistic picture of a person’s experience.

Opensignal has released their 2022 report for South Africa, with data collected between May and July.

One of the most important metrics in the report is ‘availability’, which measures how often users have a working 3G or better connection.

All four of SA’s cell providers (MTN, Cell C, Telkom and Vodacom) are pretty close together for availability, though Telkom does pull slightly ahead.

Closely related is the metric of ‘consistent quality’, which measures how reliably a network was able to perform common tasks, such as streaming 480p video, browsing the web, and using social media like Instagram.

Here, Vodacom comes out ahead, with MTN and Telkom just behind. Cell C trails the pack, scoring 12% lower than MTN.

In terms of ‘video experience’ (measuring various kinds of video streaming), Vodacom comes out on top, and MTN 5% lower. Cell C and Telkom have very close scores, with both coming in at another 5% lower than MTN.

The metrics for ‘game experience’ (measuring factors around mobile gaming) and ‘voice app experience’ (measuring apps like WhatsApp and Skype) tell very similar stories.

For both of these categories, all four cell providers have very close scores – but Vodacom sneaks ahead by a percentage point or two.

In contrast, ‘download speed’ and ‘upload speed’ experience metrics show much larger differences between providers. MTN is the clear winner for these categories, having average speeds of about 2Mbps faster than Vodacom.

However, second place is still way ahead of both Cell C and Telkom, who both have similar average speeds around 12Mbps slower than Vodacom.

Overall, Vodacom comes out ahead in all the experience quality categories, though its competition with MTN is very close. On the other hand, MTN takes a significant lead for connection speeds.

While Telkom does take the win for general availability, it is not by a wide margin. For most other metrics, Telkom and Cell C score similarly, but tend to lag significantly behind Vodacom and MTN.

With many people struggling to get decent mobile connection during load shedding, it would have been nice to see some rankings for ‘load shedding reliability’ or similar. But perhaps that problem is a bit too specific to find its way into a global analysis.

IOL Tech

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