The Gautrain is one of the most popular public transport services among middle-class citizens in Gauteng, with 62,000 train journeys a day. People can travel to numerous stations between Johannesburg, Pretoria, and OR Tambo Airport along the Gautrain’s 80-kilometre commuter rail system.
Most people use their smartphones on the trip to browse the Internet, read emails, make calls, or check their latest WhatsApp messages. To remain connected, is a challenge however, as the train travels at up to 160km/h on a route with numerous tunnels and stations. This raises an important question: which mobile operator in South Africa offers the best performance along the Gautrain route?
Gautrain Mobile Network Tests
To test the performance of mobile networks, MyBroadband conducted hundreds of download, upload, and latency tests along the Gautrain route. The tests were conducted using two test benches with five high-end smartphones each, which include Huawei Mate 20 Pro devices (shown below). These phones ran a custom version of the ‘MyBroadband Android Speed Test app’, which conducted network performance tests every minute. The full route – from the Hatfield station to the Johannesburg station – were done twice to ensure accurate results.
The mobile network test results showed that the performance for Vodacom and MTN were very good along most of the Gautrain route. There were, however, a few areas where both Vodacom and MTN devices lost connectivity. Cell C, Telkom, and Rain had only patchy coverage along the Gautrain route and regularly lost connectivity. Vodacom had the highest average upload and download speeds, while Telkom recorded the lowest latency. The table below provides an overview of the performance of the networks along the Gautrain route.