SA LTE speeds among world’s slowest

2015-09-25 15:57 - Gareth van Zyl
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(Seth Wenig, AP)

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Johannesburg - South Africa has the tenth slowest LTE speeds in the world, according to wireless analysis company OpenSignal.

OpenSignal collected data from LTE smartphone owners on its Apple iOS and Android apps.

As a result, OpenSignal said “hundreds of thousands” of its users across the globe helped collect data between June and August on range of factors such as LTE coverage and speed.

Vodacom, MTN and Telkom have LTE networks in South Africa while Cell C this week launched its 4G network.

According to OpenSignal data, South Africa had an average LTE speed in the period of 8Mbps, the tenth slowest LTE speeds in the world according to the study.

South Africa also joins the Philippines, Ecuador, and Thailand in having this average LTE speed. Meanwhile, Kuwait has an average speed of 7Mbps, Bolivia 6Mbps, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan 4Mbps, and Costa Rica 3Mbps.

The countries with the fastest LTE download speeds in the world are New Zealand with 36 Mbps and Singapore at 33Mbps.

Breaking down the stats by network, OpenSignal said that Vodacom has an average LTE speed of 10Mbps while MTN is at 4Mbps.

The OpenSignal data, though, only looks at Vodacom and MTN while leaving out Telkom and Cell C.

Meanwhile, other data from OpenSignal indicated that in terms of of LTE availability, South Africa also ranks low with users only having access to 4G networks 58% of the time.

This is respectively 59% on Vodacom’s network and 56% on MTN. South Korea and Japan have over 90% LTE coverage.

In addition, in a graph that marks countries download speeds along with LTE availability, South Africa in the weakest quadrant along with Iran, Cost Rica and the Phillipines.

South African operators’ LTE ambitions, though, are limited by the country’s inertia with its digital migration.

Digital migration will help switch over broadcasters from analogue to digital signals and open more frequencies for faster mobile broadband.

In June this year, South Africa missed a key global digital migration deadline amid delays with government issuing set-top box tenders and battles among broadcasters over the specification of these boxes.

In the meantime, LTE across the world is marching ahead.

“In general we’re seeing both speeds and 4G availability creeping up across the globe as operators deploy new networks in new places and upgrade the networks they’ve already built,” said OpenSignal.

“Getting a 20 Mbps connection is now commonplace in multiple countries as operators expand into new frequency bands and take advantage of new LTE-Advanced techniques,” the company added.

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