Sunday Oct 17, 2021

So which mobile operator customers enjoy the best network quality?

The highest and lowest scores indicate that at this point it’s a trade-off betweeen affordability and customer experience. Image: Shutterstock

So which mobile operator customers enjoy the best network quality?

Information about So which mobile operator customers enjoy the best network quality?

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MTN and Rain have bookended the Q3 2021 Mobile Network Quality Report released by MyBroadband, with the former maintaining its top position and the latter again rated the worst mobile network provider in SA.

“For the most part, the mobile network operators provide excellent service and products to their customers, and we’ve seen a steady improvement in network quality for most operators over the last few years,” says Marius Hollenbach, MyBroadband Insights Director.

The report was based on 306 303 speed tests performed by thousands of MyBroadband Speed Test App users across the country.

Overall score

The network quality score was calculated for each network using download speed (60%), upload speed (20%), and latency (20%).

MTN continued to lead the way in terms of overall network quality:

  • MTN – 9.58
  • Vodacom – 6.25
  • Telkom – 5.18
  • Cell C – 4.09
  • Rain – 3.42.


According to the report, between July 1 and September 30, SA’s mobile users enjoyed an average download speed of 40.40 megabits per second (Mbps) and an average upload speed of 13.66Mbps.

“The average download speed in South Africa increased by more than 10Mbps since the beginning of 2020, which is thanks to increased network investment and temporary spectrum issued to mobile operators during the lockdown,” according to MyBroadband.

“This temporary spectrum helped mobile networks to increase their network capacity and improve their average speeds during the lockdown.”

MTN boasted the highest average download speed, with its rivals considerably far behind:

  • MTN – 68.79Mbps
  • Vodacom – 39.37Mbps
  • Telkom – 29.24Mbps
  • Cell C – 19.88Mbps
  • Rain – 10.86Mbps.

Top and tail

MTN customers benefitted from a R50 billion network investment that has helped the mobile network operator extend its coverage, improve its network quality, and increase speeds.

“MTN’s exceptional performance results from outspending its rivals on infrastructure investment over the past five years,” according to MyBroadband.

Read: MTN to invest over R170m in Eastern Cape network

Rain, meanwhile, had some ups and downs to contend with.

Its support and network quality declined significantly when lockdown hit in April last year, according to BrandsEye and Deloitte Africa’s 2020 South African Telco Sentiment Index.

Customers reported delays in service turnaround, a lack of response from the network provider, and poor network quality. These negative sentiments continued into the current year.

However, MyBroadband offers some context, explaining that: “Rain struggled with the rapid increase in subscribers and the additional data usage demands brought on by the lockdown.”

While many have suggested the network’s affordability approach came at the expense of customer experience, the report notes that Rain has “made significant strides in improving the size of its networks”.


Palesa Mofokeng is a Moneyweb intern.

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