South Africa’s Mobile Networks Ranked from Best to Worst

Ever wondered if you are with the top mobile network? Or who takes the title for being South Africa’s best mobile network? Well, now we officially know! My Broadband did a survey int eh final quarter of 2018 and the results are in and they are rather interesting results indeed.


The survey analyzed SA’s five mobile networks over a period of three months and looked at their data speeds for both downloads and uploads as well as latency with almost 400,000 speed-tests conducted.

During these 3 months, My Broadband found the average mobile download speed in South Africa to be 22.18 Mbps. Good news comes to MTN users, as the network tops the chart with a speed of 26.95 Mbps, followed by Vodacom, new kids on the block: Rain, Telkom and trailing behind the pack is Cell C at a speed of 15.56 Mbps.

During the survey, latency was also measured, that is the delay after an instruction has been given before the transfer of data commences. In simple terms, the lower the latency, the faster the download speed. MTN also dominated for this factor, really taking a good win and deserving their new title.

South Africa’s Best Mobile Network

Having taken the top rating for both speed (download and upload) and latency in the survey, MTN has been named the best network in South Africa. This comes after they have invested heavily in a comprehensive rollout to upgrade their 3G and 4G coverage.

MTN gave rival Vodacom a run for their money by only just beating them to the top spot. The difference in download speeds and latency for the two communication giants was minimal with Vodacom receiving a 39ms for latency and 26.78 Mbps for download speed. MTN, on the other hand, scored a 37ms for latency and 26.95 Mbps on download speed.

Cell C is Lagging Behind

With their latency performing a full 40% slower MTN, Cell C finds themselves at the bottom of the pile. In fact, downloading something on Cell C will take you twice as long compared to downloading on MTN. Telkom find themselves in slightly better standing than Cell C only because they have a slightly better latency, even though their download speed is the slowest of the lot.

There’s a new kid on the block and they are sitting happily in the middle of this ranking. Rain, which is a data-only network, launched in South Africa in June 2018 and is showing Telkom and Cell C how it's done.

The Ranking Scores

Once the download and upload speeds, as well as latency, were determined, each network receives a score out of 10, which is called a “Network Quality Score”.

Since they had the best speeds, MTN was awarded a 10 as the benchmark for the ranking against which the other networks would be scored. The other networks then receive their Network Quality Score in relation to MTN’s performance.

The following table shows each networks’ speeds as well as their score awarded to them by the My Broadband survey.

RankNetworkNetwork Quality ScoreDownload SpeedUpload SpeedLatency
1MTN10.0026.9512.1537
2Vodacom9.6826.7811.0639
3Rain8.0421.679.2644
4Telkom6.8819.834.7944
5Cell C6.1615.567.8753

These results are interesting and a bit of a shock to Vodacom who were topping the charts for the majority of 2018. However, MTN kicked things up a notch in the fourth quarter to drastically improve their data speeds to clinch the coveted title of Best Mobile Network in

South Africa at the start of 2019. It just goes to show that their multi-million Rand investment in improving their network paid off.

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