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Carrier Mobile Broadband Network Performance: Africa & Middle East

  • Published:
  • 180 Pages
  • ARCchart

Carriers are now using mobile data as their weapon of choice in the fight against the commoditization of voice and falling ARPU. With so much at stake it is imperative that carriers have networks which can consistently and reliably deliver robust data performance to their customers. In this report we show there is wide variation in how effectively carriers in Africa and the Middle East are achieving this objective today. There is a genuine risk that carriers which develop a reputation for inferior performance will suffer high churn and loss of subscribers.

This study is based on data speed and latency measurements collected using a speed test smartphone app. This approach has allowed 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. This report focuses on operators in Africa and the Middle East. ARCchart has estimated averages for download speed, upload speed, latency and overall network quality for 72 carriers in 25 countries in this region.

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.

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. By utilising a graphical representation of test reading distribution, a profile of each carrier's network performance is constructed, providing insight into the data technologies in play and the capacity supported.

A carrier performance matrix was developed in order to determine which mobile operators achieve the best overall performance across the four metrics measured in this study - download, upload, latency and broadband coverage. The results show 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 league table was also developed for countries, ranking each country based on the download performance of its carriers' networks. The UAE, Angola and Saudi Arabia take the top three spots.

The test data also reveals valuable metrics unrelated to network performance, such as the carrier market share for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, and the relative penetration of smartphones for each country. The general trend observed shows the more affluent countries with greater levels of smartphone penetration.

The test data also allow us to determine the relative market share which Android device OEMs have with each carrier and in each country. This shows that Samsung dominates the region's Android market, while Motorola has little presence and trails behind Sony Ericsson in most markets.

The majority of carriers examined in this research have implemented HSDPA within their network and 65% have deployed HSPA+. In most countries in the region there is at least one carrier which has migrated to HSPA+. Algeria, Iran, Iraq and Zambia are the only countries where none of the carriers have implemented HSPA+.

Despite the prevalence of HSDPA, the vast majority of carriers in the region still have a reliance on 2G data transmission, with just over 90% of operators showing activity over GRPS or EDGE.

Table of Contents

A. METHODOLOGY

  • A.1. Data Source - the App
    • Motivation for Using the App
    • Location
    • Data Collection Period and Sample Size
  • A.2. Limitations of the App
    • Network Reliability
    • The Limitation
    • Handset Performance Variation
    • The Limitation
    • The Solution
    • Handsets versus Dongles and Connected Devices
  • A.3. The Results
  • A.4. Availability of the Raw Data

B. INTRODUCTION

  • B.1. Real World Network Limitations
    • Factors Affecting Network Performance
    • Cell Density
    • Distance
    • Loading
    • Backhaul
    • Environment
    • Spectrum
    • Latency
    • Real World Handset Limitations
  • B.2. Report Overview
    • The Average Performance
    • Determining Mobile Broadband Coverage
    • Measuring Coverage from the Test Data
    • Determining Network Reliability

C. COUNTRY ANALYSIS

  • C.1. Download Performance
  • C.2. Mobile Broadband Network Quality
  • C.3. Device Penetration
    • Measuring Penetration
    • Overall Smartphone Penetration
    • iPhone versus Android Penetration

D. CARRIER ANALYSIS

  • D.1. Overall Carrier Performance Ranking
  • D.2. Charts and Diagrams Explained
    • Network Performance
    • Data Speed Chart
    • Summary Table
    • Network Profiling
    • Cellular Technology Profile
    • Regional Profile
    • Device Market Share
  • D.3. Algeria
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.4. Angola
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.5. Egypt
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.6. Ghana
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.7. Iran
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.8. Iraq
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.9. Israel
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.10. Jordan
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.11. Kenya
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.12. Kuwait
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.13. Lebanon
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.14. Madagascar
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.15. Morocco
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.16. Mozambique
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.17. Namibia
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.18. Nigeria
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.19. Oman
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.20. Qatar
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.21. Saudi Arabia
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.22. South Africa
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.23. Tanzania
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.24. Uganda
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.25. UAE
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.26. Zambia
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share
  • D.27. Zimbabwe
    • Country View
    • Smartphones and Tablets
    • Android OEM Market Share
    • Carrier Analysis
    • Network Profile
    • Regional Analysis
    • Device Analysis
    • Carrier Smartphone and iPad Market Share

E. DISCUSSION & FINDINGS

  • E.1. Network Technologies in Play
    • Status of HSDPA and HSPA+
    • LTE Performance
  • E.2. Prevalence of 2G
  • E.3. Levels of Smartphone Penetration
    • Countries with High Penetration
  • E.4. iPhone versus Android
    • Overall Regional Share
  • E.5. High iPad Penetration
  • E.6. Android OEM Market Share

List of Figures

  • Figure 1 - Mobile broadband network quality ratings by country
  • Figure 2 - Smartphone penetration by country
  • Figure 3 - iPhone and Android penetration by country
  • Figure 4 - Example cellular technology network distribution diagram
  • Figure 5 - Example regional profile diagram
  • Figure 6 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Algeria
  • Figure 7 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Algeria
  • Figure 8 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Algeria
  • Figure 9 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Algeria
  • Figure 10 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 4 towns/cities in Algeria
  • Figure 11 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Algeria
  • Figure 12 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Angola
  • Figure 13 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Angola
  • Figure 14 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Angola
  • Figure 15 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Angola
  • Figure 16 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Angola
  • Figure 17 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Angola
  • Figure 18 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Egypt
  • Figure 19 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Egypt
  • Figure 20 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Egypt
  • Figure 21 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Egypt
  • Figure 22 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Egypt
  • Figure 23 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Egypt
  • Figure 24 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Ghana
  • Figure 25 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Ghana
  • Figure 26 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Ghana
  • Figure 27 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Ghana
  • Figure 28 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Ghana
  • Figure 29 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Ghana
  • Figure 30 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Iran
  • Figure 31 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Iran
  • Figure 32 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Iran
  • Figure 33 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Iran
  • Figure 34 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Iran
  • Figure 35 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Iran
  • Figure 36 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Iraq
  • Figure 37 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Iraq
  • Figure 38 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Iraq
  • Figure 39 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Iraq
  • Figure 40 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Iraq
  • Figure 41 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Iraq
  • Figure 42 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Israel
  • Figure 43 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Israel
  • Figure 44 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Israel
  • Figure 45 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Israel
  • Figure 46 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Israel
  • Figure 47 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Israel
  • Figure 48 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Jordan
  • Figure 49 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Jordan
  • Figure 50 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Jordan
  • Figure 51 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Jordan
  • Figure 52 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Jordan
  • Figure 53 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Jordan
  • Figure 54 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Kenya
  • Figure 55 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Kenya
  • Figure 56 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Kenya
  • Figure 57 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Kenya
  • Figure 58 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Kenya
  • Figure 59 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Kenya
  • Figure 60 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Kuwait
  • Figure 61 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Kuwait
  • Figure 62 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Kuwait
  • Figure 63 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Kuwait
  • Figure 64 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Kuwait
  • Figure 65 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Kuwait
  • Figure 66 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Lebanon
  • Figure 67 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Lebanon
  • Figure 68 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Lebanon
  • Figure 69 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Lebanon
  • Figure 70 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Lebanon
  • Figure 71 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Lebanon
  • Figure 72 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Madagascar
  • Figure 73 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Madagascar
  • Figure 74 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Madagascar
  • Figure 75 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Madagascar
  • Figure 76 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Madagascar
  • Figure 77 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Madagascar
  • Figure 78 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Morocco
  • Figure 79 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Morocco
  • Figure 80 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Morocco
  • Figure 81 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Morocco
  • Figure 82 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Morocco
  • Figure 83 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Morocco
  • Figure 84 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Mozambique
  • Figure 85 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Mozambique
  • Figure 86 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Mozambique
  • Figure 87 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Mozambique
  • Figure 88 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Mozambique
  • Figure 89 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Mozambique
  • Figure 90 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Namibia
  • Figure 91 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Namibia
  • Figure 92 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Namibia
  • Figure 93 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Namibia
  • Figure 94 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Namibia
  • Figure 95 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Namibia
  • Figure 96 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Nigeria
  • Figure 97 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Nigeria
  • Figure 98 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Nigeria
  • Figure 99 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Nigeria
  • Figure 100 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Nigeria
  • Figure 101 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Nigeria
  • Figure 102 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Oman
  • Figure 103 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Oman
  • Figure 104 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Oman
  • Figure 105 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Oman
  • Figure 106 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Oman
  • Figure 107 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Oman
  • Figure 108 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Qatar
  • Figure 109 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Qatar
  • Figure 110 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Qatar
  • Figure 111 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Qatar
  • Figure 112 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Qatar
  • Figure 113 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Qatar
  • Figure 114 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Saudi Arabia
  • Figure 115 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Saudi Arabia
  • Figure 116 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Saudi Arabia
  • Figure 117 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Saudi Arabia
  • Figure 118 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Saudi Arabia
  • Figure 119 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Saudi Arabia
  • Figure 120 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in South Africa
  • Figure 121 - Market shares for Android OEMs in South Africa
  • Figure 122 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in South Africa
  • Figure 123 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in South Africa
  • Figure 124 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in South Africa
  • Figure 125 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in South Africa
  • Figure 126 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Tanzania
  • Figure 127 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Tanzania
  • Figure 128 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Tanzania
  • Figure 129 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Tanzania
  • Figure 130 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Tanzania
  • Figure 131 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Tanzania
  • Figure 132 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Uganda
  • Figure 133 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Uganda
  • Figure 134 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Uganda
  • Figure 135 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Uganda
  • Figure 136 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Uganda
  • Figure 137 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Uganda
  • Figure 138 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in UAE
  • Figure 139 - Market shares for Android OEMs in UAE
  • Figure 140 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in UAE
  • Figure 141 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in UAE
  • Figure 142 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in UAE
  • Figure 143 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in UAE
  • Figure 144 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Zambia
  • Figure 145 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Zambia
  • Figure 146 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Zambia
  • Figure 147 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Zambia
  • Figure 148 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Zambia
  • Figure 149 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Zambia
  • Figure 150 - Relative proportions of iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Zimbabwe
  • Figure 151 - Market shares for Android OEMs in Zimbabwe
  • Figure 152 - Average download and upload performance for carriers in Zimbabwe
  • Figure 153 - Cellular technology network profile for carriers in Zimbabwe
  • Figure 154 - Smartphone activity and download performance for top 5 towns/cities in Zimbabwe
  • Figure 155 - Market share estimate for iPhone, iPad and Android devices in Zimbabwe
  • Figure 156 - Android and iPhone device market share for Americas region
  • Figure 157 - Android OEM market share for Africa & Middle East region

List of Tables

  • Table 1 - List of countries covered in this research
  • Table 2 - HSDPA and HSUPA support by the four iPhone models
  • Table 3 - Download performance league table by country
  • Table 4 - Carrier league table, ranked by overall performance rating
  • Table 5 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Algeria
  • Table 6 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Angola
  • Table 7 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Egypt
  • Table 8 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Ghana
  • Table 9 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Iran
  • Table 10 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Iraq
  • Table 11 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Israel
  • Table 12 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Jordan
  • Table 13 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Kenya
  • Table 14 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Kuwait
  • Table 15 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Lebanon
  • Table 16 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Madagascar
  • Table 17 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Morocco
  • Table 18 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Mozambique
  • Table 19 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Namibia
  • Table 20 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Nigeria
  • Table 21 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Oman
  • Table 22 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Qatar
  • Table 23 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Saudi Arabia
  • Table 24 - Summary of network performance for carriers in South Africa
  • Table 25 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Tanzania
  • Table 26 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Uganda
  • Table 27 - Summary of network performance for carriers in UAE
  • Table 28 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Zambia
  • Table 29 - Summary of network performance for carriers in Zimbabwe
  • Table 30 - Carriers with HIGH or GOOD mobile broadband coverage ratings
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