Cell C Speedstick Real World Tests: Is it Really That Fast?

A few weeks ago we promised you that we would follow up our review of the Cell C Speedstick with some real world speed tests, and here you go. I ran these tests during different times, and also at a few different locations. Overall the speeds are very quick, but there is a definite spike in network speed at off peak hours, a few times my connection reached above 10Mbps, which is great considering SA still has a maximum of 10Mbps of ADSL lines…
In terms of reception I was pretty lucky – I used it in quite a few areas in the Cape Town / Bellville / Stellenbosch areas, and also to a trip to Pretoria, and not once did I have reception problems. I did however once get only EDGE reception in Durbanville (or D’Urbanvale to be precise), despite Cell C’s map indicating full HSPA reception where I was standing – maybe I should tell Trevor eh?
I also found that the reception can be very sensitive – for example at work I found that connecting the modem to a laptop above my table gave me full HSPA speed, whereas connecting to a desktop below my table gave only a WCDMA connection. Maybe your experience would be different. But to be honest – in 90% of my use I had full HSPA+ speeds.
At present I am sharing a PDF file with my Speedtest.net results so far, based on connections to Johannesburg and London. Information includes download and upload speeds, and ping times. I also check how long Youtube videos had to buffer before playing (using standard definition videos). You will also find my signal strength and location info.

Once again I will try to keep this updated over time…

  1. It’s a pity that CellC’s service is so poor. I bought one of these on the 25th at Bayside, Centurion, after checking the coverage for both my home and my office. At the office it works well, but there is almost no signal at home. My Vodacom and MTN dongles work fine, though. Called CellC and after 40 minutes on the phone, I got irritated and ended the call. Went back to the shop and their attitude is “if it doesn’t work, then bring it back for a refund”. No attempt to try and rectify the problem at all. Bend over Trevor, your speed stick is on its way back!!

    1. Have you tried sending them an email about the issue Jez? They are pretty upfront with their “renewed” customer policy – maybe you should try it out? Let us know how it goes, lets see if Cell C is really trying to change!

    2. Jez – thats unfortunate. I also noticed once that I only got EDGE reception in a area that was supposed to get full reception according to the reception map. Maybe you should fire off an email to Cell C and see what they have to say? Lets see if they are indeed trying to change ito customer service. Tell Trevor!

      1. I would fire off an email if I had the contact details of someone senior – I don’t have the patience to contact their customer care again. But at this rate, their reputation is not getting any better.

        1. Hi Minnaar, I’m right next to Waterkloof in Monument Park – no go. What really makes me livid is the fact that they are not even prepared to try and resolve the issue – simply said to bring in the modem and get a refund. As I said, Vodacom and MTN works fine here….

          1. Jez, I totally get what you saying. But think of it this way: They can’t fix the reception issue without adding to their network – building another tower, leasing bandwidth from MTN/VODA towers near by..etc. Imagine they said to you: “Just wait a month or two for us to setup dedicated tower in that area…” you would be pissed. Get the refund and wait till they sort out that area. my 2c

    1. Hi Wilbur – I used the black 21Mbps HSPA+ stick. The one they bundle with the 5GB pm deal. Would be interested to see how the other white stick performs as well.

  2. i’m new to using a speedstick to connect to the internet.
    i’m using the Cell C Whoosh USB stick, & am receiving mail, but cant send !
    Can someone tell me what the settings should be so i can send email (using outlook).
    My email is caroma@iafrica.com . Thx

      1. Unfortunately not. I have been waiting 2.5 months for Telkom to install my phone line so that I can get adsl. That’s why I’m considering the Cell C deal, but I’m not too sure about the coverage in my area. I checked the coverage map, but it’s difficult to tel. Can’t zoom in enough 🙁

  3. I’m one unhappy Cell C Speed Stick user. I’ve been using the 3g for a month now and i cant send but can receive mails. i’ve even uninstalled it so many times but still i cant send out mails when using my Microsoft Outlook

    1. Hi Jane,
      I had the same problem when i started using the Cell-C Speedstick.
      As it happens, your outgoing server address has to be : mail.cmobile.co.za
      Hope this helps.

      1. Thank you for this mail.cmobile.co.za works! I have been trying to phone Cell C and all I get is Trevor Noah telling me he is going to transfer me… 10 min later im still holding the line… NOT COOL!

        1. I tried everything so far no luck with the outgoing mail servers i.e. mail.cmobile.co.za and smtp.cellc.co.za not working… Cell C just doesnt care Help Please.

      2. This worked! Thank you, I’ve been having this issue since I got this stupid thing, and finally an email sent with that server change! You’d think they’d let you know about this when you buy the bloody thing!

      3. Thanks for the info, I have just bought my stick and did not have a clue of what the outgoing server address was suppose to be, thanks a lot.
        Carrol, Gordons Bay

  4. Hi im ernest im having a problems with the incoming mail server settings
    can someone help me?

  5. Hi im ernest im having a problems with the incoming mail server settings
    can someone help me?

  6. Hi im ernest im having a problems with the incoming mail server settings
    can someone help me?

  7. hi iam ahmed essop and it seems cell c has a problem with most of its products. u can complain as much as u want they dont give a damn

  8. I recently purchased the 21mbps model and it is a complete joke.I rarely get speeds of over 2mbps and it spikes constantly.I know coverage is not a problem because cell c indicates full coverage where i am staying.my advice would be to ditch this thing,its a total disapointment.I got all exited for nothing,thanks trevor.

  9. I am located on the Northcliff ridge, and the Cell C coverage map shows that I have light-red only. However, I borrowed a friends white dongle (7.2Mbps) and regularly obtained 2.5-3.2 Mbps download and 1.5-2.7Mbps upload. Take a look at my speedtest.net results here.
    I am now very keen to purchase the black dongle (21Mb/s). As the white performed at about 1/2 is theoretical maximum, would the black one therefore work at 1/2 speed as well..ie about 10Mb/s?

  10. Speedstick whatever! I still don’t believe I fell for it and bought one. Initial speeds were good, although it kept dropping. Now, with everyone on board, speed is RUBBISH.

  11. Got there new black 5gig speed stick, what a piece of s**t! Very fast… but spikes all the time on off on off, with full signal HSPA+

  12. Hi all
    I just got the white 7.2 mbps stick and it works very well. I live in woodstock, cape town
    Now to just check how long it keeps on providing me with speeds in excess of 4mbps

    1. I would be very interested to see if the 7.2 stick is indeed so much slower for everyday traffic. Only times I reach above 7mbps is late at night (with the faster modem).

    2. I would be very interested to see if the 7.2 stick is indeed so much slower for everyday traffic. Only times I reach above 7mbps is late at night (with the faster modem).

  13. Most helpful site I’ve seen in ages. Wow thanks for all the hard-work and effort you guys put into this site 🙂

  14. Hi all Trevor is a comedian and that’s how they fooled us all to thinking u getting a speed stick but turned out slow. i just received my 3rd Black supposedly 21.5 stick and i keep telling them its not the stick but the network that’s crap the store told me its either the setting or my laptop. Pls i work in I.T. even tested it on a i5 no difference.cell c will test it with their  boosters and get awesome speeds in store u get home and get less than 1.5mb. im not asking for 21.5mb but at least over 5- 8 mb will be great at times.

    1. A longshot: do you perhaps know if this thing has any success with Ubuntu? Asking since you’re in IT…

      1. Hi BVR,
        Yes it works! I have used it on 12.10 and 13.04. Just plug it in and it will be recognized and ready to use.

  15. what setting should I be using to send emails with a telkom email address but using a cell c speed stick

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