Telkom LTE vs Cell C LTE


Ordering Telkom And Cell C LTE

We organized, with our friends over at WebAfrica.co.za to test and review their latest LTE offerings from Telkom and Cell C.

Thus we went through the whole ordering online and RICA process and it was surprisingly pain free and fast.

There was a problem with my RICA documents (No I’m not an illegal) but the WebAfrica sales team phoned me and we got everything sorted out over the phone very quickly.

 

Delivery took about 2 days after the RICA process was completed.

What We Received

Delivery day came, and we got a nice Huawei 4G B525 router with two sim cards. One for Telkom LTE and one for CELL C.

 

Pro Tip , The sim card size for the modem is the MIDDLE(Micro) one.

Sim Card Sizes Compared

Be sure when you break or cut your sim card you pick the right size. I didn’t and went all the way to the nano size. So I had to carefully positioned it back into the micro-sized-frame.

 

Speed Test Results 

What we found over a 3 day, hourly testing period; was that although Cell C had a higher maximum bandwidth speed at times, up to 40-60mbps it’s a lot more erratic than the Telkom LTE Uncapped offering. The Cell C LTE does drop to below 5mbps at times, while the Telkom LTE maintains a nice steady 10-20mbps over a three-day period. Just keep in mind the minimum speed required for HD streaming is only 5mbps.

 

Telkom LTE Speed Test

Figure 1. Telkom Speed Test

 

Telkom LTE Speed Test

*Horizontal axis  the speed buckets, vertical axis the counts

Figure 2. Telkom Speed Distribution

Cell C Speed Test

Figure 2. Cell C Speed Test

 


*Horizontal axis  the speed buckets, vertical axis the counts

Figure 4. Cell C Speed Distribution

 

 

As you can see the Cell-C has an overall higher speed but also a lot more erratic and a huge difference between international and local speeds

Package

Median International

Median Local

Telkom LTE

16.18Mbps

21.04Mbps

Cell C LTE

18.8Mbps

31 Mbps

 

LTE  VS Fibre Coverage

We all want uncapped, unshaped fibre for under X amount a month, oh with a free installation, router and of course a generous SARS tax return. Unfortunately for many of us you not getting a tax refund nor fibre coverage from any of the top fibre networks.

 

Thus LTE is what's left, but that's not all bad as our test will show. LTE definitely has it advantages over fibre, mostly cost and quick setup times.

 

While it's true, the fibre usually cost less and Telkom only recently came out with an Uncapped LTE deal.  The right LTE package can still be a viable option for you and your family.

How We Tested

We wanted to really see how both Cell C and Telkom LTE will perform, so we setup the same router and test parameters as follows:

 

  • Do one local speed test 5 minutes after every hour for 3 days 
  • Do one international test 1 minute past every hour for 3 days
  • Use a dedicated raspberry pi (little standalone computer) 
  • Use a wired connection from R.Pi to router.
  • Use speedtest-cli together with a cron script (Don’t worry, just geek speak)
  • We used the same speed test servers for every local and international test.

Speed Test - Locally VS Internationally

We hear it all the time from our ISP support centre:

 “ Go do a speed test on our website ,Yes sir , everything looks fine on our end”.

 

Well I do have a problem with that, right this instance when I test the speed might be ok and why should I do a speed test to your locally self hosted speedtest ? Especially since most of the content I consume are international in nature. Netflix, Youtube, Google (Yes they got some peering points in S.A) etc.

 

LTE Prices Compared

LTE uncapped is still more expensive than fibre but there are some great capped LTE packages and deals.

The Telkom Uncapped LTE deal is R899 and Cell C doesn’t currently have an uncapped offering.

 

We have excluded RAIN from this pricing, comparison, since it’s been reported that their experience can be very erratic.

Rain’s mobile network quality plummets (MyBroadband)

 

Package

Price Per Month

Telkom Uncapped

R899

Telkom 70GB + 50GB

R459

Cell C 100GB

R530

Cell C 200GB

R845

Fibre Pricing

Vox 10mbps Vumatel Fibre

R599 

WebAfrica 10mbps Openserve fibre

R399

See https://www.FibreTiger.co.za/network/lte for latest LTE pricing and deals.

LTE Can Be Erratic

The way LTE works is that the devices or routers each connect to a nearby tower and everyone has the share the bandwidth and spectrum. Thus, when it’s Netflix hour comes around at about 7pm-10pm and everyone in your neighbourhood is streaming in HD, this can lead to congestion on the towers.

Speed Test - Netflix And International Portals.

If you are having slow internet speeds have a look at the Fibre Tiger Speed Test page, where we only use international speed test portals

Excellent Alternative.

LTE is still a great alternative, if you fall outside of the fibre coverage area for most of the big networks like Vumatel, Openserve, Frogfoot and Octotel.

 

Thank you for WebAfrica for supplying our test equipment and helping out.

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