When it comes time to choosing mobile internet service in Uganda, there’s more to pay attention to than just price. Some mobile data networks offer data speeds that are demonstrably faster than others. Other carriers, while perhaps not the fastest, may have better nationwide data coverage. Early this year, we carried out real life 4G and 3G data speeds of all major mobile internet providers, where MTN Uganda and Africell came out on top. Every carrier claims to be “the best,” but how do you separate marketing braggadocio from the honest truth?
The answer to that question is a no brainier: You take a look at the data. And that’s just what the folks behind the cell network-mapping app OpenSignal do every so often. Their website compares speeds and network availability for the most used data carriers in Uganda and around the globe. Here in Uganda, carrier MTN Uganda scores top honors when it comes to network speed overall and Airtel is only number one when it comes to 2G data speeds and this is only because some of Africell and MTN’s result are not recorded.
According to the OpenSignal report, MTN Uganda has average data speeds of 4.16 Mbps. Africell comes in second place with average speeds of 1.65 Mbps, Airtel Uganda at 1.29Mbps and strangely, Sure Telecom also commercially known as Smart Telecom is fifth fastest at just 0.5 Mbps on average. Major 4G-LTE carriers like Vodafone and Smile Telecom are nowhere to be seen in results because no data was captured for 4G LTE networks. Uganda Telecom was also omitted in the rankings due to small sample sizes.
2G data rankings
3G data rankings
Africell is the most reliable while Airtel has better reachablility
When it comes to reliability, Africell leads the way overall with 89.45% followed by Airtel Uganda at 86.4%, MTN and 85.98% and finally Smart Telecom at 84.22%. Even if Africell is the most reliable, its scores very poorly when it comes to ping times at 333 ms. Ping is a utility used to test the reachability of a website on the network and to measure the round-trip time for messages sent from your device to a destination computer/website and back. Airtel scored the best in Ping time at 167ms.
Overall data ranking
Overall, average Uganda’s mobile data speeds are up slightly (2 Mbps) with 3G being the most dominating mobile data technology being used. Data from OpenSignal used for this post was as recent as June 1st 2015. You can view the full report, with carrier-by-carrier data from around the world, by visiting the OpenSignal website.