South Africa is in a growing minority of countries where mobile data connections are on average faster than wifi hotspot connections, according to OpenSignal's newly released report that compared those connections in 80 countries.
"The perception that mobile networks are inferior to wifi has persisted, wrongly,” says author of the report Ian Fogg.
That is still true in the majority of countries surveyed, as it was true just about everywhere only 10 years ago. But this year OpenSignal found that in 41% of countries mobile data is now superior.
According to OpenSignal, South Africa's wifi download speeds measure 8.8Mbps on average while the average mobile speed was 14.6Mbps.
The difference between the two is not quite as stark as it is in Australia (13Mbps), Qatar (11.8Mbps), and Greece – but mobile has a much clearer advantage than it has in countries such as Algeria, Costa Rica, and Mexico.
OpenSignal sources data on carrier signal quality from users who've installed its app, which shows side-by-side comparisons to help consumers choose a carrier. The report is based on over three billion measurements a day from more than 100 million Android and Apple smartphone users around the world.
The company says the quality of wifi coverage doesn't have that big an influence on download speeds, but interference between wifi networks in the same location can.
Connecting to the internet via cellphone on the other hand, tends to provide a much consistent experience because mobile networks have to licence the spectrum they use, notes Fogg.
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