Africa has always been viewed as a continent that isn’t very connected in terms of internet speeds and the number of users – compared to other parts of the world. Research done by Net Index has reaffirmed this belief, and while Africa has some pretty impressive average internet speeds, the continent’s top country only managed to rank 77th on their list of 174 countries from around the world.
“Based on millions of recent test results from Speedtest.net, this index compares and ranks consumer download speeds around the globe. The value is the rolling mean throughput in Mbps over the past 30 days where the mean distance between the client and the server is less than 300 miles,” Net Index wrote.
While the average rolling mean throughput around the globe is 10.26 Mbps (Megabits per second), Africa is still well below this.
Ghana ranks 77th on their list, and makes it into the top position for an African country with the average download speed being 4.78 Mbps. Ghana Telecom scored the highest with 5.57 Mbps, while Zain Communications Ltd scored the lowest with 1.69 Mbps. The scores were calculated by “analyzing test data between 25 March and 23 Apr 2012. Tests from 38 225 unique IPs have been taken in this country and of 223 598 total tests, 12 181 are being used for the current Index.”
In what is a bit of a surprise, South Africa’s neighbour ranked 80th on the global scale, coming in second for the African continent with a download speed of 4.65 Mbps. Substantially less unique IPs (3 972 ) were taken from Zimbabwe, and 2 463 tests are being used for the current index. Telecontract is on par with countries like Singapore, with speeds of 23.74 Mbps, but Powertel Communications (Zimbabwe) and MWEB Connect are culprits in bringing the average speed down, with 0.92 Mbps and 2.57 Mbps, respectively. Zimbabwe Online had an average speed of 11.83 Mbps.
From the 62,877 unique IPs that have been taken in Kenya, the country made it into the 84th position on the global list, with download speeds of 4.46 Mbps. Speeds in Nairobi clocked in at 4.79 Mbps, and Mombasa 2.81 Mbps. A total number of 20 ISP were tested for download speeds, and Kenya Education Network came in first with 18.39 Mbps, and Swift Global Kenya Limited scored 12.33 Mbps. The lowest download speeds were recorded by Tangerine, at 0.46 Mbps.
Libya’s average download speed clocked in at 4.27 Mbps, placing it 86 on the global index. General Post and Telecommunication was the only ISP tested, and out of the 17 504 total tests, 300 are being used for the current index.
The African island managed to beat out industry heavy-weights such as South Africa and Nigeria with a download speed of 4.25 Mbps, while still making it to number 87 on the entire list. In the capital Antananarivo the average speed was 4.73 Mbps, while ISP Data Telecom Service clocked an average of 3.52 Mbps.
6. South Africa
While many consider South Africa to be at the forefront of internet speeds on the continent, the data has shown otherwise. The country only managed to make it into 114th position on the global scale, resulting in being placed 6th on the African rankings. The country has an average download speed of 2.85Mbps, with UniNet ranking in tops with 15.68 Mbps, MWEB Connect ranking second with 14.35 Mbps, and Comtel Communications taking the third position with 5.43 Mbps. Neotel was clocked at 4.12 Mbps, with Vodacom at 3.44 Mbps, and Cell C not far behind with 3.26 Mbps. Over four million tests were done with over a million unique IP addresses, and 270 554 are being used for this index.
Only one position below South Africa, in both the African and global list, Morocco ranked 115th on the greater scale of internet download speeds, with an average of 2.84 Mbps. Fixed Internet Meditel scored the highest download speed with 6.98 Mbps, while Inwi Mobile was bringing up the rear with a rather paltry 0.41 Mbps.
Nigeria is considered to be one of the fastest growing countries in terms of internet connectivity, so it comes as a surprise to see the African nation in the 8th place, and 130th when compared to the rest of the world. The country’s average download speed was clocked at 2.41 Mbps, which is almost twice as slow when it’s compared to Ghana’s 4.78 Mbps. Netcom Africa Limited recorded the highest download speed with 22.47 Mbps, Internet Solutions with 4.55 Mbps and VDT Communications Limited with 3.64 Mbps. The slowest download speeds were recorded by Starcomms Limited (0.33 Mbps) and Swift Networks Limited (0.51 Mbps).
Only two places below Nigeria on the global index, Rwanda makes it into the second last position in Africa, with 2.15 Mbps. Tests from 2 678 unique IPs have been taken and of 29 241 total tests, 1 631 were used for the index. Artel International scored 4.36 Mbps, with MTN RwandaCell clocking in at 0.80 Mbps.
The coastal country of Mozambique managed to make it into the last position on the list of the fastest download speeds in Africa, while sitting at 140th on the global index. Capital Maputo managed to maintain speeds of 2.13 Mbps, but that’s still below the top ISP in the country. TVCABO Mocambique scored 3.59 Mbps and Vodacom Mozambique peaked at 1.86 Mbps. With a total number of seven ISPs tested, the country’s average download speed was 1.96 Mbps.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor