Telkom recently launched a new suite of uncapped DSL products based on Openserve’s Pure Connect wholesale product.
This allows Telkom and other ISPs to offer ADSL packages which do not include a bundled voice line.
Following the announcement of Pure Connect, Telkom launched new uncapped DSL deals with more attractive prices and no included voice line charge.
The new DSL bundles comprise Unlimited Home Lite and Unlimited Home Premium products.
Unlimited Home Lite packages include uncapped Internet with no fair usage policy, a Wi-Fi router, and installation.
The Premium packages offer the same features, as well as a mobile data SIM with unlimited Telkom-to-Telkom and Telkom-to-Telkom Mobile calls.
The launch of these new products is an interesting choice by Telkom, especially as the company continues to decommission its copper network.
Telkom previously said it planned to decommission its ADSL network entirely, but following the COVID-19 pandemic, it has said that copper is still needed to provide connectivity to many South Africans.
To see how ADSL adoption was faring in South Africa, MyBroadband asked local Internet service providers what ADSL adoption trends they had seen.
Telkom was contacted for comment on the increase or decline of its ADSL user base, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.
RSAWEB said that it has noted a decline in ADSL customers and new applicants.
“We have definitely seen a decline in both customers applying for ADSL, along with our existing ADSL base as customers move from DSL to fibre,” RSAWEB said.
“We prefer to offer clients with no fibre availability the option to take LTE as we have found the turnaround times faster, there is less congestion on the network, and it is ultimately a better experience for the customer.”
RSAWEB said that Telkom is continuing to decommission ADSL and it expects customers to continue converting to fibre or LTE.
“We believe as ADSL continues to be phased out by Telkom we will continue to see our ADSL base decline as we actively convert them to FTTH or LTE,” RSAWEB said.
Cybersmart CTO Laurie Fialkov told MyBroadband that ADSL has become a legacy broadband product that people subscribe to reluctantly if there is no alternative available.
He added that Cybermart’s ADSL user base has been declining in line with its projections.
“This was further exacerbated by the fact that the telephone line rental made it more expensive than fibre which is the new kid on the block,” Fialkov said.
“The decline accelerated when Telkom announced it is no longer supporting copper, because who wants to be on an unsupported product?”
“Recently we have seen some stabilisation, if not an uptick as a result of Telkom’s new pricing structure which is more in line with every other open-access provider, as well as the ‘naked ADSL’ option where the telephone line rental is no longer mandatory.”
He said that ADSL may still remain a viable option at speeds below 4Mbps, where the price of naked ADSL is similar to equivalent fibre products.
Vox said that the migration to fibre has resulted in a decline in ADSL orders, with new customers opting for the newer technology.
“We have seen a decline in ADSL but a huge uptake in Fibre and LTE orders,” Vox said. “Overall, we have seen an increase in consumers getting connectivity for their homes.”
“As far as we are aware, Openserve is still in the process of decommissioning their copper infrastructure.”
“DSL runs over copper so, in the next 5 years or so, everything will have moved over to fibre,” the ISP added.
“Already Openserve will not accept DSL orders in ‘live’ FTTH areas.”
MWEB head of product Rihana Hoosain said that it is also seeing a migration to newer technologies, which it expects to continue.
“The internet landscape has evolved significantly over the last five years, as such our core areas of focus are on newer access technologies such as FTTH and LTE,” Hoosain said.
“Whilst we still have a healthy ADSL subscriber base, we are certainly seeing a transition of these customers to newer and better access technologies and we expect this to continue.”