Ookla Gives Credit to MTN for Fastest Internet Speeds in Sub-Saharan Africa

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Two internet performance reports from two network diagnostics firms, Ookla and UmlauT, indicate that currently, MTN has the fastest internet connection and speed in sub-Saharan Africa.

The reports focus shows very impressive performance by the MTN networks with the detail getting even more precise when one zooms in on city-by-city comparison.


Ookla, a US-based network diagnostic firm, used insights from its data platform, Speedtest, to measure which network providers have the best Internet speeds and in which cities.

Speedtest uses the median average instead of the mean average. Ookla claims it paints a more accurate picture of the Internet speed a user is likely to get in a country or city.

Per the company’s report, MTN South Africa wins the sub-Saharan Africa battle with a median download speed of 65 Mbps, closely followed by Vodacom South Africa (48 Mbps). Vodacom’s subsidiary, Safaricom Kenya follows in third with 36.2 Mbps, while Orange Botswana and MTN Uganda round up the top 5 with 32.8 and 32.7 Mbps, respectively.

African cities with the fastest Internet speeds

Internet Performance
Internet Performance

However, while the major cities of most African countries continue to improve at an amazing rate, this doesn’t always translate for the rest of the country. Some telcos perform well in major cities but get below par when you sum up their performance around the country.


Again, when measuring Internet speeds, one report might not suffice to paint an accurate picture, but it helps to give an idea. For instance, another IT company, UmlaT, stated that MTN has the best Internet speed in Nigeria, beating Airtel and Glo.

It also tested all the network providers in South Africa and, once more, handed the crown to MTN.

Both Ookla and umlauT crown South Africa as the country with the fastest Internet in sub-Saharan Africa.  However, Cable.co.uk, states that Rwanda has the fastest Internet in sub-Saharan Africa. The French territory of reunion follows in second, while South Africa rounds up the top three.

Countries with fastest Internet 

Fastest Internet In Sub Saharan Africa
Fastest Internet In Sub Saharan Africa

Africa’s Internet against the rest of the world

Despite recent improvements, Africa is still way behind the rest of the world in Internet speeds. However, there is light at the end of the tunnel as giants across the globe come to berth in Africa.

Fastest Internet Around The World
Fastest Internet Around The World

At first glance, it would seem Africa is still way behind the rest of the globe (it still is, by the way), but recent trends show the continent could soon start slugging it out with the big guns.

Per Ookla’s average (mean) global Internet speeds, no African country comes close to the 77 Mbps benchmark. But, considering the median average, things look much better for the continent.

The highest speed Ookla achieved in its sub-Saharan Africa test was with Vodacom Johannesburg. Thanks to its 5G network, the telco came with a median download speed of 81.3 Mbps.

However, South Africa’s entire median download speed stands at 38 Mbps, which is the more likely scenario for a typical user. This score places the country slightly above the reported global average of 30 Mbps.

Apart from South Africa, only Togo (36 Mbps) stands above the global median. The remaining 52 African countries begin their descent from 27 Mbps.

Google’s strategy is quite compelling, as the giant is not just trying to build infrastructure; it’s also planning to develop the users that will use the infrastructure. Talk about creating a market when one does not yet fully exist.

It’s not clear why the global giants are coming to Africa, but the recent point of attraction has been Africa’s young “digital native” population and rising smartphone penetration.

Africa’s population is young, we agree. But are they digital natives? Let me stop here. I’ve exhausted my planned word limit for this story. See you on Thursday.

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