Vodacom has extended its lead at the top of OpenSignal’s latest awards table, winning six out of seven categories and scoring highly in regional speed and latency categories. MTN came tops in the company’s 4G availability metric.
The research OpenSignal does is extensive, using 433 million data samples collected from 40 000 devices between May and July for the latest report on the four biggest operators’ 3G and 4G performance. The report focuses on end-user experience across the operators at national level and in South Africa’s three largest cities.
Vodacom won all four of the company’s national network speed commendations, including the 4G download speed award. It increased its LTE speed by over 3Mbit/s in OpenSignal’s measurements, while its rivals’ speeds have stayed fairly static over the past six months.
Vodacom comfortably won our overall speed category with a score of over 17Mbit/s, followed by MTN at 15Mbit/s. Cell C and Telkom scored under 10Mbit/s each. “This disparity was reflected across much of our analysis, where we saw a ‘two-tier’ pattern with Cell C and Telkom falling some way behind the top two,” it said.
MTN again topped OpenSignal’s 4G availability table, extending its lead to six percentage points ahead of its nearest rival. But there were just 12 percentage points separating all four operators, with LTE availability scores much closer than those in speed.
Vodacom dominated in the cities, scoring highly in all six speed metrics and scoring a clean sweep in 4G latency (network round-trip time). MTN won the 4G availability award in two cities but was held to a “surprise draw” by Cell C in Cape Town.
“Vodacom has now firmly established itself as the dominant South African mobile operator in our metrics, showing its rivals a clean pair of heels in all of our national speed and latency categories,” OpenSignal said. “But MTN won our coveted 4G availability award, and the top two operators remain some way ahead of their rivals in most of our metrics, creating two distinct tiers of operators.”
In the 4G download speed metric, Vodacom increased its average speed by over 3Mbit/s to just under 25Mbit/s. MTN’s speed has stalled on around 22Mbit/s. Cell C and Telkom’s networks saw their average 4G download speeds hold steady at about 14Mbit/s. “This notable gap between Vodacom and MTN and the other two national operators is part of a wider trend where we are seeing two tiers of user experience in our South Africa analysis.”
Vodacom kept its title at the top of the 3G download speed category, with a score of 7.4Mbit/s, but it was Cell C that saw the greatest increase in this metric over the past six months, as its score grew by over 1.5Mbit/s to reach an average of 6Mbit/s — overtaking Telkom and closing the gap on the top two.
MTN again topped the 4G availability metric with a score of 78%, extending its lead over closest rival Vodacom to over six percentage points. Vodacom’s score of 72% was followed by Cell C on 68% and Telkom with 66%. “MTN saw the greatest increase since our last report of over four percentage points, while Cell C and Vodacom both increased their scores by over two points each.”
The race was even closer in OpenSignal’s regional metrics, where MTN scored over 80% 4G availability in all three cities. “Scores of over 80% are impressive in what is still an emerging LTE market, and the country is among the leaders in availability in its region as LTE reach in Africa grows.”
Vodacom won the 4G latency category, after drawing with MTN in the last report. Vodacom passed the 30ms threshold for the first time in OpenSignal’s measurements, with a 4G latency score a full 4ms quicker than its closest rival, MTN. — © 2018 NewsCentral Media