WISPs versus ADSL

Who provides the best value for money, Telkom’s ADSL or the Wireless Internet Service Providers?

October 29, 2007
WISPs versus ADSL

Wireless Internet Service Providers (WISPs) are starting to make inroads into the broadband market with an estimated 40 000 subscribers country wide.

Many WISPs operate in regions where users can not get ADSL, but some WISPs are starting to tackle Telkom head on by providing offerings that rival the monopoly’s ADSL service.

We take a look at some of the most prominent WISP offerings and compare them to Telkom’s ADSL services.

Installation Time & Support

Two of the most notable problems associated with Telkom’s ADSL service are the lengthy waiting times for an installation and poor support. These are two of the major reasons why many consumers opt for a WISP rather than Telkom.

WISPs definitely have the edge in this department, especially if consumers do their homework before subscribing and select a well known and respected provider.

Average Throughput

The average throughput versus advertised broadband speed remains one of the biggest problems facing consumers in the local Internet market. Many providers, including Telkom with their ADSL service, advertise speeds which are highly unlikely to be experienced in reality.

Without in-depth research it is impossible to accurately compare advertised speeds with actual performance, but from the recent broadband survey it emerged that wireless providers are basically on par with Telkom’s ADSL service when it comes to this particular parameter.

Consumers will however again have to get feedback from actual users before selecting a WISP as there are unscrupulous operators who try to maximize profits by not providing adequate or reliable backhaul bandwidth.

Pricing

One of the most important aspects of any broadband service in South Africa is pricing. In South Africa pricing should generally be seen as a product of two main factors, namely speed and monthly usage allowances.

Comments 

The following table gives a basic pricing comparison between Telkom and a few prominent WISPs:

Broadband Pricing Comparison
Service Speed (in Kbps) Usage Allowance All inclusive Price
1 GB
Neology MetroFi 128 1 GB 180
Amobia WiFi 1024 1 GB 199
Snowball Wireless 512 1 GB 200
Telkom ADSL 384 1 GB 311
       
2 GB
Amobia WiFi 2048 2 GB 299
Telkom ADSL 384 2 GB 370
24-7 Wireless 2048 2 GB 449
       
3 GB +
Snowball Wireless 512 4 GB 400
Amobia WiFi 3072 3 GB 499
Snowball Wireless 2048 3 GB 650
Telkom ADSL 4096 3 GB 666
       
Uncapped
Uninet WiFi 64 Unlimited 250
Aerosat satDSL 64 Unlimited 295
Uninet WiFi 256 Unlimited 600
Aerosat satDSL 384 Unlimited 795
Uninet WiFi 512 Unlimited 800
Aerosat satDSL 512 Unlimited 950
Snowball Wireless 1024 Unlimited 1550

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