Which mobile network has best data performance in South Africa?

MTN was found to have the best mobile network in South Africa. File picture: Jonathan Raa / NurPhoto via AFP.

MTN was found to have the best mobile network in South Africa. File picture: Jonathan Raa / NurPhoto via AFP.

Published Apr 9, 2024


MTN has the best mobile network in South Africa, outperforming rivals Vodacom in four major cities and having a stronger LTE network, while the red network had the best 5G network and was the best performing data network in Johannesburg.

This is according to the Mobile Network Quality Report for the first quarter of 2024, which was released by MyBroadband Insights.

The study analysed the performance of South Africa’s major mobile networks between January 1, 2024, and March 31, 2024, using extensive drive tests as well as data collected from crowdsourced users.

MTN emerged with the highest network score of 9.66 points, followed by Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom, with Rain finishing in last place with a score of just 4.75.

Factors determining the best data network performance
Network OperatorDownload (mbps)Upload (mbps)Latency (ms)Network Quality Score
1. MTN82.4824.03299.66
2. Vodacom77.4514.74308.14
3. Cell C39.3213.36426.09
5. Rain19.4110.31284.75

While MTN had the highest overall network score, Vodacom was found to have the best 5G network in South Africa, but its LTE network lagged behind MTN’s.

In the cities, MTN dominated most of the country’s metropolitan areas, including Cape Town, eThekwini, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Nelson Mandela Bay, however Vodacom came out tops in the city of Johannesburg.

When it came to downloads, MTN ruled the roost with a speed of 82.48 Mbps, followed by Vodacom (77.45), Cell C (39.32), Telkom (30.49) and Rain (19.41).

Vodacom had the strongest network in Johannesburg. Picture: MyBroadband Insights.

Although Cell C emerged in third place, researchers recorded significant improvements versus the previous year, with the network provider’s download speed increasing from 28.70 Mbps in the first quarter of 2023.

The report was drawn from 285,839 samples, covering a distance of 13,000km.

“Our dedicated drive tests use smartphones that support the latest technologies, as well as mid-range smartphones that replicate the experience of most users,” MyBroadband said. “This report presents the real-world performance of mobile network operators.”

In order to ensure the most accurate score possible, unnatural results were filtered out, the researchers said, and cell down-sampling were used.