Following a Technext report indicating that most Africans have access to only 2G/3G, data from Ookla has shown that MTN South Africa delivered the fastest median download speeds across analysed African telecom operators, at 65.95 Mbps in Q2 2022.
In Nigeria, Airtel leads the pack, both in terms of median download and upload speed in Q2 2022, averaging 30.35 Mbps download speed and upload speed at 10.28 Mbps. In comparison, MTN Nigeria registered a 26.30 Mbps download speed and 9.13 Mbps upload speed.
Across Africa, Airtel is one of the most popular networks and operates in Burkina Faso, Chad (Airtel Chad), Republic of the Congo (Airtel Congo Brazzaville), Democratic Republic of the Congo (Airtel DRC), Ghana (Airtel Ghana), Kenya (Airtel Kenya), Nigeria (Airtel Nigeria), Uganda (Airtel Uganda) and others.
According to the report, Airtel surpassed other telecom competitors, in Nigeria, for the best consistency rating on cell throughout Q3 2021 at 89.4%, which is a 7% increase from Q2 when Airtel had a consistency score of 82.5%, while broadband supplier, ipNX, had the most effective pace rating (21.66%) and consistency rating (40.2%) in Nigeria throughout Q3 2021.
In Q1 2022, Airtel registered 22.42 Mbps. MTN ranked second with 21.71 Mbps. Globacom and 9mobile registered 8.70 and 8.32 Mbps, respectively.
Airtel recorded the lowest latency in Q1 2022 with 26ms; Globacom ranked second with 32ms; MTN recorded 33ms, and 9mobile is last on the list with 34ms. Also, Airtel also topped the consistent score list with 85.4%, followed closely by MTN with 81.5%.
In Q2 2022, MTN Nigeria has 38.9% of Nigeria’s mobile market, with its 74.1 million subscribers almost double that of Airtel’s 46.0 million.
MTN has remained Africa’s largest mobile network — where the top five (Vodafone, Airtel, Orange, Etisalat) are owned and operated by non-African companies. The company operates in 21 African countries, including South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Sudan and Congo.
Airtel’s footprint across Africa
In Q2 2022, Airtel Kenya registered 28.58 Mbps download speed, and 8.44 Mbps upload speed.
To consolidate this number, Airtel Africa announced, in July, that its Kenya subsidiary, Airtel Kenya, has concluded its purchase of additional spectrum in the country.
Airtel Kenya purchased 60 MHz of additional spectrum in the 2600 MHz band from the Communications Authority of Kenya for a gross consideration of $40 million.
“This additional spectrum will support our 4G network capacity expansion in the market for mobile data and fixed wireless home broadband capability and will allow for future 5G rollout, providing significant capacity to accommodate our continued strong data growth in the country,” the company wrote.
In Uganda, Airtel registered a 28.48 Mbps download speed and 14.84 Mbps upload speed. Airtel Rwanda follows with 15.21 Mbps download speed and 3.02 Mbps upload speed.
Airtel Tanzania recorded a 12.89 Mbps download speed and a 9.02 Mbps upload speed. While Airtel DR Congo had a 12.15 Mbps download speed and an 8.15 Mbps upload speed.
MTN across African markets
MTN South Africa delivered Africa’s fastest average download speeds of 65.95 Mbps and an upload speed of 12.65 Mbps. Here, MTN went ahead of rivals – Airtel, Orange, and Vodacom – regarding the speed available on their respective network.
However, Vodacom in Johannesburg was the fastest telecom operator considering speeds across top cities, reaching 81.36 Mbps median download speed in Q2 2022.
MTN Uganda delivered 32.71 Mbps download speed and 9.68 Mbps upload speed. Following suit is MTN Nigeria, with 26.30 Mbps download speed and 9.13 Mbps upload speed.
In Rwanda, MTN registered a download speed of 23.77 Mbps and an upload speed of 4.18 Mbps. The number goes slightly lower in Côte d’Ivoire, where MTN registered a 23.76 Mbps download speed. The upload here, however, is higher than in Rwanda – 13.84 Mbps.
MTN Guinea (the second largest mobile network operating in Guinée-Conakry) recorded a 2.89 Mbps download speed and upload speed of 1.55 Mbps.
MTN Guinea has provided 2G GSM services over 900 and 1800 MHz bands and 3G UMTS over B1 (2100 MHz) since 2014 and was only awarded a 4G operating licence by the Regulatory Authority for Post and Telecommunications (L’Autorite de Regulation des Postes et Telecommunications, ARPT) in February 2022.
The performance metre
Indeed, increased investments in internet infrastructure and mobile and associated services and demand are all helping to boost internet speeds in Africa – not to mention the forced move to ‘online’ when COVID-19 came. And for internet services to improve significantly, Africa needs good and affordable internet.
Meanwhile, Africa leads the way in terms of bandwidth growth levels, experiencing the “most rapid” growth of international internet bandwidth and beating global growth estimates.
Africa experienced a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 44% between 2018 and 2022, telecommunications market research and consulting firm, TeleGeography reveals.
TeleGeography research indicates global internet bandwidth rose by 28% in 2022, continuing the return to ‘normal’ from the pandemic-generated bump of 2020.
According to TeleGeography, the combined effects of new internet-enabled devices, growing broadband penetration in developing markets, higher broadband access rates and bandwidth-intensive applications will continue to fuel strong internet traffic growth.
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