LTE shoot-out: MTN tops again - TechCentral

LTE shoot-out: MTN tops again

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MTN’s fourth-generation long-term evolution (4G/LTE) mobile broadband offering has come out on top in a series of tests run by TechCentral in Johannesburg on Monday. It’s the second time that MTN has emerged with the fastest 4G network in TechCentral’s testing.

Telkom Mobile placed second, markedly improving its standing over the last tests done in December 2012 (when its network was still in testing), and often coming close to MTN’s speeds.

Vodacom, which came second in last year’s testing, fared worst overall this time around.

Telkom Mobile wins in ping times: the average ping time in milliseconds from all of this week's tests

Telkom Mobile wins in ping times: the average ping time in milliseconds from all of this week’s tests

The tests of the three networks — TechCentral excluded Cell C because it hasn’t launched a commercial 4G/LTE network yet and its coverage is extremely limited — were conducted at five locations around Johannesburg where each operator’s coverage map claimed good service. Five tests were conducted for each network and the three best results were used in the calculations.

Ping times — the time it takes a packet of data to make a round trip — as well as download and upload speeds were measured using the popular Speedtest.net website. Servers were selected automatically based on ping time.

Testing was conducted in Northwold (Randburg), Fourways, Bryanston, the Sandton CBD and Rosebank during office hours.

Although MTN’s 4G service emerged victorious, its coverage map leaves a great deal to be desired. The map on its website is so poor one gets the impression the operator would rather you didn’t know where it does and doesn’t have coverage.

Though MTN offered the best download and upload speeds on average, it had the slowest ping times, with an average of 49ms across all of the tests. Vodacom fared better at 38ms, but it was Telkom Mobile that offered the best ping time at 35ms on average.

Results varied considerably between operators depending on location, but, overall, each of the operators appear to have improved their 4G offerings since TechCentral’s first round of testing, with average download speeds in each testing location seldom falling below 10Mbit/s.

MTN is the clear winner in both download and upload speeds averaged across all tests

MTN is the clear winner in both download and upload speeds averaged across all tests

The lowest download speed recorded at Grosvenor Crossing in Bryanston, for example, was Telkom Mobile’s average 19Mbit/s. Its rivals both achieved speeds in excess of 25Mbit/s.

Overall, the fastest average download speed of 27Mbit/s was measured on Telkom Mobile’s network at The Zone in Rosebank. The slowest average download speed, meanwhile, was on Vodacom at the Design Quarter in Fourways at just under 8,7Mbit/s.

The results are outlined in a series of tables below. Each table shows the best three results for each testing location. The results are ranked according to download speed, with green representing the fastest, orange the second fastest and red the slowest.  — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media

Northwold, Randburg

Ping (ms)Download (Mbit/s)Upload (Mbit/s)
Telkom Mobile
3517,86,48
3417,856,7
3015,897,16
Telkom Mobile average3317,186,78
MTN4917,7117,26
8319,9917,41
4919,3218,36
MTN average6019,0117,68
Vodacom429,837,31
379,46,56
3911,566,82
Vodacom average3910,266,82

Design Quarter, Fourways

Ping (ms)Download (Mbit/s)Upload (Mbit/s)
Telkom Mobile3613,534,45
3611,154,2
3614,445,71
Telkom Mobile average3613,044,79
MTN4026,9316,56
5325,1917,74
4924,6618,59
MTN average4725,5917,63
Vodacom378,357,6
418,995,08
408,736,82
Vodacom average398,76,5

Grosvenor Crossing, Bryanston

Ping (ms)Download (Mbit/s)Upload (Mbit/s)
Telkom Mobile2619,476,14
3818,596,27
3219,086,18
Telkom Mobile average3219,056,2
MTN4325,416,81
4623,9616,69
3925,9412,55
MTN average4325,115,35
Vodacom4128,148,8
3725,337,09
3625,287,23
Vodacom average3826,257,71

Benmore Gardens, Sandton

Ping (ms)Download (Mbit/s)Upload (Mbit/s)
Telkom Mobile439,685,48
4310,476,07
379,735,76
Telkom Mobile average419,965,77
MTN4720,4712,96
4422,714,71
4920,1914
MTN average4721,1213,89
Vodacom4015,347,1
3614,377,26
3914,827,48
Vodacom average3814,847,28

The Zone, Rosebank

Ping (ms)Download (Mbit/s)Upload (Mbit/s)
Telkom Mobile2328,938,22
2925,128,01
4126,997,65
Telkom Mobile average3127,017,96
MTN442311,51
4723,6410,97
4828,0113,03
MTN average4624,8811,84
Vodacom3716,47,82
3316,497,41
3716,457,1
Vodacom average3616,457,44

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