File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN - There had previously been much debate about which of the four mobile networks in South Africa is the fastest and most cost effective. 

MTN has finally put the debate to rest. MyBroadband’s Mobile Network Quality Report for South Africa's published a report, assessed the last quarter (Q4) 2017 performance of the four mobile networks. 

Data was collected through the publisher’s Android Speed Test app which tested 113 000 tests of 8 250 users during the measured period. 

According to the results, there is a clear winner. MTN hailed in as the fastest mobile network. Boasting an average download and upload speed, MTN ranked the highest average of any network with 22.22Mbps and 10.07Mbps. Latency, the performance of the hosted desktop's system also outperformed with 50Mbps on average. This, from 28 870 tests. 

READ ALSO: MTN cuts out-of-bundle data prices for rural South Africa

Second in line is Vodacom, trailing MTN by a few bytes on download speed at 21.63Mbps and averaged 8.3Mbps uploads on average. Vodacom, the second fastest mobile network in SA also has the third worse latency of any network. In third place, came Telkom with 15.35Mbps downloads and 4.44Mbps uploads. However, Telkom has the best latency figures of all four networks. 

Finally, hauling in fourth place is Cell C. Cell C has an average download speed of 14.05Mbps and an upload speed of 6.25Mbps. It also has the highest overall latency of 66mbps. 

All in all, SA’s average mobile download speeds is equivalent to 19.29Mbps with uploads level at 7.71Mbps. 

This comes hot off the cuff as just last month, MTN announced its plan to cut out-of-bundle data prices for rural South Africans. On December 1, 2017, MTN South Africa said it would offer lower-end customers who use less than 5 megabytes out-of-bundle data pricing by up to 80% (29 cents per megabyte). 

“Poor people, low-income people, rural people to be accidentally billed at R1.50 or R2 just to receive a picture on WhatsApp was really untenable. We cannot be tone deaf, especially if we say we want to be the most loved network. We cannot be the most loved network with those rates”, said MTN SA chief executive Godfrey Motsa. 

Motsa said that data prices are expected to further decrease when the Minister of Telecommunications and Postal Services, Siyabonga Cwele, allocated scope to companies. 

“The only person we are waiting for is Minister Cwele to basically give us the spectrum”, said Motsa. “What we are doing today is demonstrating our commitment to customers”, concluded Motsa. 

On its strategy to cater for lower-end customers, it is remarkable that MTN was still able to maintain its performance and overall latency. This promises to yield in more loyal customers and the largest South African telecommunications company, is one to keep a close eye on. 

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- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE