SA LTE, 3G speeds on par with US - report

2016-11-07 12:34 - Kyle Venktess, Fin24
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Fast internet is becoming a reality in SA. (Duncan Alfreds, Fin24)


Johannesburg - South Africa's 3G and LTE internet speeds are on par with that of US and Europe, says mobile network Vodacom.

PC Magazine compared mobile broadband speeds in 30 US cities in a recent report. Subsequently, Vodacom took the results of this PC Magazine test and compared them with that experienced in South Africa.

READ: Fin24 users unhappy over SA internet speeds

In a statement published last week, Vodacom said that in SA, 3G upload speeds were measured at 2.20 Mbps on average while download speeds reached 7.85 Mbps. Meanwhile, US 3G speeds were at 1.5 Mbps and 6.71 Mbps, respectively as per the PC Magazine test. 

In terms of LTE networks, the US upload speeds were measured at 12.21 Mbps, with download speeds were at 21.82 Mbps. SA, in terms of LTE, tails speeds slightly with 8.47 Mbps and 20.69 Mbps respectively.

Network providers believe that this is a demonstration that the billions of rands that have been invested by the local cellphone network providers in broadband infrastructure over the last 20 years.

READ: SA 'poised' to sell high-speed broadband spectrum

Andries Delport, Vodacom’s Chief Technology Officer at Vodacom said: “This is testament to the fact that our network investment efforts are paying off.”

“This year alone we invested R12.9bn in our networks in South Africa, targeted primarily at expanding our 2G, 3G and 4G coverage, enhancing our network performance and improving customer experience,” he added.

SA shouldn't get too excited, says analyst

CEO of local technology research firm Strategy Worx, Steven Ambrose, told Fin24 that the numbers in the study paint an interesting story and that there was no question that all local networks have improved dramatically.

READ: SA allocates R2.5bn for high-speed broadband push

However, he said user experience would differ owing to various factors.

“The key here is that the tests referenced are a local speed to a local speed test site. When any of these break out to an international site, where most of out traffic goes the picture is very very different,” he said.

“The bare speed is a factor. However, in the USA and elsewhere in the developed world the experience on the internet is far superior to that which we obtain in SA.

“The national and international backbone is firstly lower latency, faster and closer to the user, and the capacity of the networks are magnitudes higher than that we get in SA,” he added.

READ: SA’s high internet costs need intervention - Fin24 user

Ambrose said that, simply put, speed for speed the experience in the US is generally far snappier than that in SA, especially when connecting to international sites such as Google's Gmail and the like.

“SA has just thrown the proverbial cat amongst the pigeons with regard to spectrum with the recently released white paper. 

“The proposal to essentially nationalize the spectrum and create a single monopolistic entity will delay and frustrate any chance of greater speeds and lower prices going forward,” Ambrose told Fin24.

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