Big ADSL price cuts coming in South Africa

South Africans can expect more affordable ADSL packages from several ISPs soon.

This is according to ADSL providers who spoke to MyBroadband about Openserve’s new “Naked ADSL” product.

Openserve recently unveiled a wholesale DSL broadband product called Pure Connect, for which it is scrapping the requirement of an active landline to access the Internet through an ADSL or VDSL connection.

“This new product now allows customers to directly obtain the broadband service from their ISPs and will no longer be required to obtain a copper line from Telkom Retail,” Openserve said in a statement.

The implication is that ADSL subscribers won’t have to pay an additional R210 each month for a Telkom line, if they don’t intend on using it for telephone calls.

MyBroadband asked local ISPs if they would offer Pure Connect-based packages and what prices customers should expect to pay for ADSL packages going forward.

Webafrica said customers could save as much as R650 per month, depending on which provider and package they currently subscribe to.

It revealed it would offer the following uncapped, unshaped DSL products in May:

  • 4Mbps – R379 per month
  • 10Mbps – R579 per month
  • 20Mbps – R679 per month
  • 40Mbps – R879 per month

The price is inclusive of an ADSL line and ISP data, while no fair usage policy (FUP) applies.

Webafrica said it plans to start offering these packages from 15 May, but added that it would only go live once the company has a complete understanding of the product from both an ISP and customer perspective.

“The requirements in order to take advantage of this offering have not been comprehensively laid out by Openserve; we’ve posed various questions and are awaiting feedback from them,” it said.

Could challenge fibre sales

Cybersmart CTO Laurie Fialkov said Openserve’s product was good news for Internet users.

“For customer reach it is great because ADSL is pretty much everywhere, but the price was previously not cost-effective because of the telephone rental,” Fialkov stated.

“It obviously makes ADSL a much more compelling option now as you don’t have the double fee of a landline that you are paying for and don’t necessarily need.”

He added that naked ADSL would now make it difficult to convince customers with coverage to switch to fibre, based on price alone.

“The ability to switch these customers to fibre based on a price argument is now almost impossible, so it is not great for our fibre division,” Fialkov explained.

“It is good for our VoIP division, as we can bundle our VoIP with ADSL, which was very difficult to offer previously as the customer had to pay for the telephone [line].”

“Hats off to Telkom, they finally appear not only be listening to what the industry wants, but are actively delivering on those requests,” Fialkov concluded.

ADSL not so popular

RSAWEB, however, said that ADSL was not a popular option for its users.

In the past few months, RSAWEB observed that a considerable percentage of the ADSL base moved to fibre connectivity. New sign-ups on ADSL have also been slow which indicated that customers are looking at fibre or fixed-LTE as an alternative,” RSAWEB said. 

It had discussed the various options regarding Pure Connect with Openserve, but decided it will not be offering the product at this stage.

Additionally, the company explained that its data showed the majority of ADSL customers still use their Telkom phone lines – which means it would not make sense to scrap their landline fee.

Now read: Best and worst ISPs during lockdown – Speed and customer satisfaction comparison

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Big ADSL price cuts coming in South Africa