South Africans don’t like their cellphone networks – but two are particularly bad

Business Insider SA

SA Mobile Network Providers

  • Consumers are unhappy with the country's mobile networks. 
  • They are the most unhappy with Rain, and the least unhappy with MTN, according to an index released by Brandseye in partnership with Deloitte.  
  • The mobile networks are ranked according to customers' social media conversation on the provider's pricing, network quality, and customer service. 
  • Telkom was ranked second last for its data pricing and weak network coverage. 
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South Africans are generally dissatisfied with their mobile network providers – with Rain is at the bottom of the barrel, followed by Telkom, according to an index released by customer experience watchdog Brandseye

In its latest Telco Sentiment Index, in partnership with Deloitte South Africa, Brandseye tracked more than 200 million social media posts to measure consumer sentiment about the country’s major network providers – Cell C, MTN, Rain, Telkom, and Vodacom – between January 2020 and December 2020.

Each social media post received a sentiment rating which was either positive, neural, or negative. This was then used to calculate a net sentiment ranking for each network.

The survey was based on three aspects: pricing, network quality, and customer service.

All network providers saw negative conversation on social media, though the level of unhappiness varied. 

2020 Net Sentiment Ranking
The 2020 net sentiment ranking (Brandseye)

Rain was found “sitting over 20 percentage points below the overall net sentiment for the industry (-34.6%) which aggregates all five telcos,” according to Brandseye. That is despite Rain's growth from 100,000 customers in 2019 to 800,000 in 2020.

Its downfall was largely due to downtime and network quality.

MTN, on the other hand, scored the highest positive sentiment and the lowest number of negative comments, followed by Cell C.

During loadshedding, MTN and Cell C customers complained less about being affected. Cell C also saw the most positive conversation about pricing.

Vodacom came in third after seeing the most negative conversations about pricing even after slashing data prices by 40% in 2020.    

Pricing Net Sentiment Ranking.
The net sentiment ranking on pricing. (Brandseye)

Telkom, which became the country’s third largest network provider (overtaking Cell C) was ranked second last in net sentiment. Its downfall was largely due to data prices and persisting network issues.

"This serves as a good reminder that while growth is important, it must be seen alongside customer satisfaction if telcos want to build the sort of loyalty that will see their customers not just sticking with them, but hopefully also trusting them as their financial service providers," said Brandseye.  

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