MWEB yesterday stunned the local Internet Service Provider (ISP) market when it unveiled the most affordable uncapped ADSL services in South Africa.
MWEB’s uncapped consumer data-only products cost R219, R299 and R539 per month for line speeds of 384 Kbps, 512 Kbps and 4 Mbps respectively. MWEB also offers three consumer all-inclusive packages (ADSL line rental included) for R349, R599 and R899 per month for line speeds of 384 Kbps, 512 Kbps and 4 Mbps respectively.
At these prices many ADSL subscribers who typically use a fair amount of data per month have shown a keen interest in jumping ship to MWEB, with the only real question being the performance of the service.
Early test results
MyBroadband got its hands on an uncapped 4 Mbps test account to take the service through its paces – and early test results are very promising.
For basic email and surfing the MWEB uncapped account performed well, and results from Speedtest.net were on par with SAIX and IS based offerings.
Local Speedtest.net downlink speeds ranged between 3.28 Mbps and 4.13 Mbps while local uplink speeds ranged between 0.26 Mbps and 0.42 Mbps.
International Speedtest.net results – tested with servers in London, New York and Brussels – ranged between 2.96 Mbps and 3.61 Mbps while international uplink speeds were fairly steady at between 0.3 Mbps and 0.32 Mbps.
Local latency was fairly consistent and ranged between 17 ms and 41 ms in tests to Johannesburg and Cape Town based servers. International latency was however less consistent, and ranged between 285 ms and 528 ms to the UK and US.
Bandwidth intensive applications
The MWEB uncapped account performed well with all bandwidth intensive applications.
YouTube videos streamed without any buffering, but some buffering was needed when moving to high definition video streaming (480p and more specifically 720p).
Standard file download speeds were quite consistent at between 2 Mbps and 3.4 Mbps while multi-threaded FTP and HTTP downloads sat at around 3.2 Mbps.
Good news for those keen on torrent services is that the MWEB uncapped account seems torrent friendly. We selected 10 of the most popular torrents, and total download speeds ranged between 2.8 Mbps and 3.2 Mbps.
Biggest test coming
MWEB’s uncapped offerings are clearly performing particularly well at this stage, and do not stand back for competing services in the market. Early adopters are likely to report a similar experience when they sign up.
The challenge for MWEB will however only come when they reach higher customer numbers with many subscribers pushing their connections to the limit with multiple downloads around the clock. In the past this has placed other uncapped broadband providers under pressure, but MWEB seems well aware of this looming challenge.
MWEB CEO Rudi Jansen said that they have acquired adequate local and international bandwidth to serve their customers, and that their network is scalable enough to ensure that the ISP stays ahead of the curve.
MWEB Uncapped ADSL << discussion