Published: 16 March, 2012
Carriers are using mobile data as their weapon of choice in the fight against the commoditization of voice and falling ARPU. With so much at stake many carriers are aggressively investing in networks which can consistently and reliably deliver robust data performance to their customers. In a recent ARCchart study of the mobile operators in African and the Middle East, UAE-based du ranked as the overall best in the region.
The unique study is based on data speed and latency measurements collected using a speed test smartphone app. This approach allows ARCchart to collect millions of individual test readings from hundreds of thousands of users who have conducted tests for virtually every mobile carrier in virtually every country in the world. ARCchart latest study focuses on operators in Africa and the Middle East, estimating averages for download speed, upload speed, latency and overall network quality for 72 carriers in 25 countries in the region.
Analysis of the test measurements shows that all 2G and 3G data air interfaces are encountered amongst operators, namely GPRS, EDGE, WCDMA, HSDPA, HSPA+. There is no evidence of LTE anywhere in the region.
A carrier performance matrix which determines the best overall performance across the four metrics measured in this study shows that du in the UAE has the best overall mobile broadband network of all the AME carriers examined. The top six operators are all in the Middle East and three South African operators make it into the top 10.
A wide variation in mobile broadband performance is observed, with some operators achieving speeds many times faster than competing carriers in the same market. For example, in Morocco, Medi Telecom shows the country's fastest download average of 978 kbps while inwi manages just 124 kbps. In South Africa, Vodacom's upload average is 1,227 kbps, while MTN's is 564 kbps.
Individual countries were also ranked for the average download performance supported by all the networks deployed in their market. The UAE, Angola and Saudi Arabia take the top three spots.