Analyzing the Reach of South Africa’s Modern Mobile Speeds

18 May 2018


Though South Africa has the fastest average mobile download speed in Africa (22.42 Mbps in Q1 2018), the story is not that simple. Download speed in the country’s fastest province (Free State) was 38.7% faster than that in the slowest (Northern Cape), while speeds in the country’s largest cities are relatively similar.

To better understand South Africa’s mobile landscape, we analyzed data from Speedtest Intelligence® during Q1 2018. We considered mean speeds for each of the country’s provinces and the five most populous cities.

South Africa’s fastest (and slowest) provinces

   Free State had the fastest download speed among South African provinces

The three South African provinces with the fastest average download speeds (Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng) are all in the center of the country. Of those, both KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng are densely populated while Free State is less so.

speed test map

The two slowest provinces (Northern Cape and North West) are both along South Africa’s northern border and are among the country’s least densely populated. The third slowest province, Mpumalanga, is more centrally located with a border along Gauteng and the countries of Mozambique and the Kingdom of eSwatini (formerly known as Swaziland).

Mobile speeds in South Africa’s largest cities

   "Durban had the fastest download speed of South Africa's largest cities, but competition was close"

Looking at South Africa’s five most populous cities, we find that the mean download speed in first-place Durban during Q1 2018 was 17.3% faster than that of fifth-place Cape Town.

Speed test data

The band of speeds these cities fall into is relatively narrow, though. And although Pretoria’s download speed was 5.9% faster than that in nearby Soweto, a casual user would not notice the difference in performance between the two.

How fast is your mobile connection? Take a Speedtest on Android or iOS to show us what speeds you’re experiencing.

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