Openserve recently announced free line speed upgrades for fibre and ADSL subscribers.
The move has received a mixed response from Internet service providers in South Africa, however.
While some ISPs have praised the move, other reactions have been more measured or even negative.
Similarly, certain ISPs indicated they received a corresponding free upgrade to their wholesale capacity on the Openserve network, enabling them to pass on the benefits to their customers. Others said they will have to fund a portion of the upgrade themselves.
Additionally, only fibre connections slower than 100Mbps will receive line speed upgrades – along with ADSL connections slower than 10Mbps.
These upgrades were set to start rolling out from 1 May 2020 and will remain in effect for three months, Openserve said.
Only clients who had active connections on 22 April will qualify for the promotion.
MyBroadband asked several ISPs whether they will be passing on Openserve’s line speed upgrades to clients. Their feedback is below.
Cool Ideas said it will pass on the Openserve line speed upgrades to its subscribers.
It explained that Openserve has changed its wholesale model recently, and is flattening its billing structure.
Level-7 said it will pass the Openserve upgrade onto its subscribers.
“Our customers with active Openserve FTTH services on 22 April 2020 will be upgraded automatically in stages starting from 24 April and are expected to completed by 10 May 2020,” Level-7 told MyBroadband.
“While Openserve provides the access portion to customers with an upgraded fibre line speed, we are bringing our part and providing the additional bandwidth at no extra cost to assist all of our customers during the lockdown period.”
Afrihost said it will participate in Openserve’s promotion, even though Openserve did not provide a corresponding free upgrade to its wholesale capacity.
“Openserve is giving assistance during May on [wholesale capacity], but not June or July,” Afrihost stated.
“[A free upgrade] would be ideal, but even if they don’t, we will upgrade the [wholesale capacity] by whatever is needed – at our cost – so that clients get their full speed.”
RSAWEB said it has taken up the Openserve offer and its bandwidth utilisation has nearly doubled across the board, with customers experiencing great speeds and high throughput.
“New orders and existing services of 10/20/40 Mbps speeds will be upgraded for free to the next available package,” RSAWEB told MyBroadband.
New subscribers will also receive their first month free.
RSAWEB said that it will upgrade ADSL subscribers to 10Mbps where technically possible.
“We are pleased that Openserve has worked with us to assist our customers in this time of crisis and together we can offer even more value.”
Mind The Speed
Mind The Speed has informed customers it will not be participating in Openserve’s promotion.
The ISP told MyBroadband it has historically sold Openserve services at a big loss.
“While the [wholesale bandwidth] costs have dropped dramatically, the circuit costs have increased. This means that we will still actually make a loss on Openserve,” Mind The Speed explained.
“The most popular package on Openserve is our 10Mbps package, which was initially priced at R460 per month. We’ve had to revise this cost because of the new circuit costs. For now, we have not amended the cost to our existing customers due to the current economic situation.”
Mind The Speed said that when the lockdown was announced in March, traffic on its network increased by 50%.
“This has had a direct impact on our subsequent running costs, which have increased dramatically,” the ISP stated.
“To maintain the integrity of our network and speeds we’ve made the necessary upgrades to some parts of our network to manage the increased loads. The rand/US dollar depreciation has also contributed to an increase in costs, which we have not passed onto our customers.”
Mind The Speed said at this point it is trying to keep its costs down and absorb what it can to avoid passing it onto customers.
MWEB will pass Openserve’s line speed upgrades onto its clients.
MWEB said it has received a corresponding wholesale bandwidth upgrade from Openserve to go with its free speed upgrade promotion.
“As per the Openserve communication to us, this will be deployed in a phased approach envisaged to be completed by 10 May 2020.”
Vox said it will pass on Openserve’s free line speed upgrades to customers.
On whether Openserve provided it with a corresponding wholesale bandwidth upgrade, Vox said there was no free upgrade.
“Openserve gave the ISPs an option to opt into their new set of broadband products on ADSL and FTTH,” Vox explained.
“This new set of products has a different billing methodology to their previous products with a drop in [wholesale price] but an increase in the line rentals.”
Vox said that it will have to cater for the additional traffic on the Openserve network. This means it will have to increase the wholesale capacity it buys from Openserve to accommodate the increased line speeds, absorbing the additional cost.
Webafrica said it will pass on Openserve’s line speed upgrades to clients.
The ISP told MyBroadband that Openserve has zero-rated all wholesale bandwidth costs for April and May.
“The line speed increase period runs from May to July, so we’ll feel some heat from a cost perspective in June and July,” it said.
While Webafrica was positive overall about Openserve’s changes to its wholesale billing model, it also noted that it has been selling Openserve fibre at a loss.
“We have been selling Openserve fibre below cost for some time now in anticipation of a big [wholesale bandwidth price] reduction and therefore won’t reduce retail prices,” Webafrica said.