Vumatel fibre customers are up in arms about the prices of the network operators’ fibre offerings, which are now significantly more expensive than its main rival Openserve.
This comes after the latter announced big price cuts and speed increases on its wholesale fibre prices for ISPs.
The backlash has been worsened by the fact that Vumatel has now discontinued its 10Mbps and 20Mbps asymmetrical fibre packages, which were its cheapest options.
MyBroadband forum members and readers have slammed the FNO, even going as far as calling it the “new Telkom” in reference to that company’s days of having a broadband monopoly in the country.
This is because – similar to how Telkom dominated DSL connectivity in South Africa at one point – Vumatel now has a significant advantage in terms of its fibre-to-the-home footprint.
Its expansive rollout in recent years has pushed its home reach far beyond that of competitors, which means that many customers who want fibre are stuck with Vumatel’s offerings, as they have no alternative network provider in their area.
However, from at least one MyBroadband forum thread it appeared that some users were looking to revert to older fixed-line copper cable Internet.
Interestingly, they pointed out that various ISPs offered 20Mbps DSL packages for far cheaper than Vumatel’s 10Mbps fibre option.
Even more startling was that we found at least two prominent South African ISPs offering 40Mbps DSL packages at lower prices than their 10Mbps fibre offerings on Vumatel’s network.
Currently, Vox offers a 10Mbps/10Mbps fibre package on Vumatel’s network at R699, making it one of the cheapest around.
Its 40Mbps Pure Uncapped DSL package on the Openserve network is just R675 per month – which give users up to 40Mbps download and up to 10Mbps upload speeds.
Similarly, Axxess’s 10Mbps/10Mbps fibre package on Vumatel’s network is priced at R755, while its 40Mbps DSL came in at R745.
These ISPs, and several others, offered 20Mbps DSL for much cheaper than their own 10Mbps fibre packages from Vumatel as well.
While it’s true that in this instance upload speeds will be slower than with the fibre package, at up to 5Mbps it’s likely that it will meet most users’ requirements.
It should be acknowledged that fibre is the superior technology and will in most instances offer better reliability than DSL.
The mere fact that the entry-level next-generation fixed technology is more expensive than the top-of-the-line legacy product, however, should be a point of concern.
In addition, the indication that tech-savvy Internet users would be willing to move back to older technologies shows that Vumatel will have to give more thought to its pricing.
The table below shows ISPs that offer cheaper 40Mbps or 20Mbps ADSL than 10Mbps symmetrical fibre on Vumatel’s network.
|Openserve DSL vs Vumatel fibre prices|
|Uncapped Package||Infrastructure provider||Price|
|Axxess 10Mbps/10Mbps Fibre||Vumatel||R755|
|Axxess 20Mbps/5Mbps DSL||Openserve||R595|
|Axxess 40Mbps/10Mbps DSL||Openserve||R745|
|RSAWEB 10Mbps/10Mbps Fibre||Vumatel||R695|
|RSAWEB 20Mbps/5Mbps DSL||Openserve||R605|
|Vox 10Mbps/10Mbps fibre||Vumatel||R699|
|Vox 20Mbps/5Mbps DSL||Openserve||R575|
|Vox 40Mbps/10Mbps DSL||Openserve||R675|
|Webafrica 10Mbps/10Mbps fibre||Vumatel||R809|
|Webafrica 20Mbps/5Mbps DSL||Openserve||R669|