Liquid Telecom 5G packages – South African ISPs respond

On 14 February 2020, Liquid Telecom announced that it had partnered with Internet Solutions to deliver wholesale 5G connectivity targeted at enterprise services and its existing customer base.

These 5G services will provide Internet Solutions with faster speeds, lower latency, and greater capacity, the company said.

“Local businesses are adopting technologies like SD-WAN, IoT, and cloud computing; however, these technologies need network connectivity that provides high quality, increased capacity, and greater reliability to ensure optimum performance,” said Liquid Telecom CEO Reshaad Sha.

This means that Internet Solutions is looking at providing 5G services to ISPs, who could then launch their own 5G packages for consumers.

These 5G services would be fixed-wireless broadband products similar to Rain’s 5G product.

Internet Solutions previously provisioned fixed-LTE wholesale services on Rain and Cell C’s networks which allowed its partnered ISPs to sell these products.

ISPs quiet on 5G

MyBroadband asked major local ISPs whether they were in talks with Internet Solutions to launch 5G packages on Liquid Telecom’s network.

Most local ISPs declined to comment, with only Axxess confirming that it had not yet been approached by Internet Solutions.

However, Axxess did state that it would consider selling 5G services provisioned by Internet Solutions to customers.

Cybersmart CTO Laurie Fialkov stated that Cybersmart does not sell mobile broadband products and pointed out the issues regarding 5G service delivery.

“[5G] is difficult to support and there is zero control of the service levels,” Fialkov said.

“There is historically very little margin, and with Internet Solutions adding another markup there is even less.”

He added that Cybersmart would be more likely to buy 5G services if it could buy directly from Liquid Telecom instead of Internet Solutions.

Fixed-LTE problems

Wholesale mobile broadband providers who sold services to Internet Solutions have not fared well recently.

In 2019, Cell C terminated its fixed-LTE services and shut down the product’s availability through ISPs.

The company took this step to improve its financial position following its nil valuation by majority shareholder Blue Label Telecoms.

One year earlier, Rain discontinued its fixed-LTE services due to increased congestion on its network and a subsequent shortage of capacity.

The company has since launched its 5G consumer packages, however, which deliver speeds of over 200Mbps.

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Liquid Telecom 5G packages – South African ISPs respond