Cell C only announced on Tuesday that it will be rolling out its LTE network across Gauteng, but three of South Africa’s other networks, Telkom Mobile, MTN and Vodacom, have had LTE connections for some time.
While download speeds between the networks vary quite a bit, South Africa’s LTE speeds are, in general, well behind those of the rest of the world.
According to OpenSignal’s State of LTE global report for Q3 2015, SA has the 10th slowest LTE speeds when compared to 68 other countries. The report states that SA’s average LTE speed is clocked at 8Mbps, while the top listed country, New Zealand, comes in at 36Mbps.
SA is beaten in the speed stakes by countries like Kazakhstan, Venezuela and Georgia.
“The speed crown today, New Zealand, first launched it just two years ago. Though LTE-Advanced hasn’t yet taken hold in New Zealand, Spark and Vodafone have launched the technology on two frequency bands each, delivering an awful lot of 4G capacity,” OpenSignal commented in the report.
In terms of coverage, South Africa’s isn’t doing as badly as with the average network speed, but we’re still very much in the middle of the pack.
OpenSignal’s metric for coverage is the proportion of time users have an LTE signal, or ‘Time Coverage’. Simply put, it measures the amount of times users were able to get an LTE signal and connect to it.
Here, SA comes in at 35th out of the 68 countries, with LTE subscribers finding and connecting to the network 58% of the time.
South Korea is the undisputed champion in coverage, with three networks each providing more a than 96% connection rate, with a national average of 97%.
“Still, there are several operators that clearly have work to do when it comes to providing a consistent 4G connection. Iliad’s Free Mobile may be challenging the French powers-that-be on price, but its LTE time coverage ranked lowest in Europe at 26%,” OpenSignal said.
While South Africa might not be the fastest or offer the most widely-available LTE, there is still reason to celebrate – at least we have LTE; there are still large portions of Africa that don’t have the technology at all yet.[Source – OpenSignal]