22 Jan 2013

Vodacom LTE/4G performance during every day mobile use

I conducted a few ‘every day’ type tests to pit Vodacom LTE / 4G against Vodacom HSDPA / 3G because LTE was up to 46% faster than HSDPA on the Vodacom network in my initial speedtest.net results. However, I wanted to see how this speed difference translated to typical real world use such as browsing, downloading apps, using apps, and watching videos.

Internet Browsing
I set my Samsung Galaxy S3 LTE to load the desktop version of Facebook.com and then refreshed a bunch of times using both Vodacom LTE and Vodacom HSDPA while keeping track of the time it took for the Vodacom page to finish loading…. The fastest load time I clocked on Vodacom LTE was 17 seconds, while the fastest load time I clocked on Vodacom HSDPA was 20 seconds.

I could not tell the difference between Vodacom LTE and Vodacom HSDPA when I was using Twitter as timelines refresh and new tweets are loaded very close to instantaneously on both technologies.

I was able to watch YouTube videos in HD using both Vodacom LTE and Vodacom HSDPA without any stuttering and the time it took for videos to start playing was short on both as well.

Downloading Apps
It took 22 seconds from the time I clicked ‘Accept & Download’ on the Skype app in the Google play store to the time that Skype had finished installing on Vodacom LTE. The fastest download and install time I could achieve for Skype on Vodacom HSDPA was 24 seconds.

Final verdict
The faster speeds on offer by Vodacom LTE do translate into increased performance in real world usage scenarios, however the performance of Vodacom HSDPA is already superb and the difference between LTE and HSDPA may go unnoticed in average every day use on a mobile device (apart from the fact that LTE may drain the battery faster than HSDPA). 

Power users who routinely download large chunks of data should notice a marked performance difference between the 2 technologies as LTE gets more of a chance to ‘stretch its legs’.  Another area where LTE performance should outshine HSDPA more readily is in scenarios where the connection is being shared by more than just one user / device.

Both HSDPA and LTE performance depend greatly on signal strength and you can check Vodacom coverage in your area here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So HSDPA works for me. Me and my Galaxy Pocket is fine for now. Will upgrade at a later date.