MTN leads Vodacom in voice network quality

New research by MyBroadband Insights showed that MTN maintained its lead over rival Vodacom in voice network quality in South Africa.

The newly released 2023 Mobile Voice Network Quality Report is based on South Africa’s biggest-ever mobile network quality test, conducted between 20 March and 24 April.

Over the testing period, MyBroadband Insights travelled over 10,000 kilometres, made 93,912 calls, and recorded over 41,000 call minutes.

MyBroadband Insights partnered with Analytico and Keysight distributor Coral-i for the extensive, country-wide network testing project.

This project used Keysight’s world-leading network testing platform, Nemo, to test a range of voice network quality variables.

MyBroadband Insights measured network performance using the latest End-user and Subscriber Charter from the industry regulator ICASA.

The regulations require mobile operators to achieve minimum standards:

  • Average Call Setup Success Ratio (CSSR) of 98%
  • Average Dropped Call Ratio (DCR) of below 3%
  • Average Call Setup Time (CST) of below 9 seconds
  • Average Speech Quality Mean Opinion Score (MOS) of higher than 3

It also used the globally recognised European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI) specification to rank the mobile operators’ voice network quality.

The results showed that MTN has the best mobile voice network in South Africa, followed by Vodacom, Cell C, and Telkom.

MTN achieved the highest speech quality mean opinion score in South Africa, with an average value of 4.21. Vodacom was second, followed by Cell C and Telkom.

MTN also achieved an average dropped call ratio of only 2.37%, far better than Vodacom at 3.41%, Telkom at 4.12%, and Cell C at 4.94%.

Vodacom achieved an average call setup time of 1.82s, which was the best of all operators. MTN ranked second, followed by Telkom and Cell C.

Telkom achieved an average call success ratio of 98.88%, well ahead of MTN at 98.20% and Cell C at 98.04%. Vodacom performed the worst at 97.96%.

The report also showed that the mobile operators struggle to meet the standards stipulated in the End-user and Subscriber Charter regulations.

This is partly a result of load-shedding, which caused severe challenges for network operators in South Africa.

The table below summarises the 2023 Mobile Voice Network Quality Report results.

OperatorSpeech Quality MOSDropped Call RatioCall Success RatioCall Setup TimeOverall Score
Cell C3.864.94%98.04%8.20s54.00%