10Mbps DSL vs 10Mbps fibre – Copper makes a comeback

Many prominent ISPs in South Africa are offering DSL packages at cheaper prices than entry-level fibre packages with similar download speeds.

The popularity of copper connectivity has waned in recent years after peaking at around a million connections in South Africa.

This was driven largely by increased fibre broadband in South Africa’s cities and larger towns.

With the decline in DSL connections and expansion of fibre networks, fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) connectivity is expected to surpass DSL adoption in 2021.

Optic fibre is a superior fixed-line technology with greater capacity, reliability and speed, and is less susceptible to external factors such as theft.

Openserve CEO Althon Beukes recently claimed that copper line theft and damage had cost Openserve more than R60 million over the past year.

This was one of the reasons its parent company Telkom announced it would shut down its copper network in areas where its fibre is already available.

However, what followed came as a surprise to many, as Openserve later scrapped its landline rental fee of around R200 which was always required on a DSL package and launched Pure Connect.

This lead to a number of ISPs launching so-called “naked ADSL packages” at greatly reduced prices.

This means that in many instances, 10Mbps DSL is now cheaper than 10Mbps fibre.

This saving appears to have struck a chord with several MyBroadband forum members, who have said they would move back to DSL rather than stick to more expensive fibre offerings on networks other than Openserve.

To illustrate this, we compared how much a 10Mbps fibre customer on a fibre network could save if they were willing to switch back to a DSL connection with a 10Mbps download and 2Mbps upload speed.

The price difference

We found that out of seven major ISPs we assessed, only two offered 10Mbps/10Mbps fibre packages which were cheaper than 10Mbps/2Mbps DSL.

For the remaining providers, DSL was cheaper than fibre, and for Axxess customers in particular, substantially so.

Axxess’s 10Mbps/2Mbps DSL package is priced at R395 per month, whereas its cheapest 10Mbps/10Mbps fibre offering on Frogfoot’s network was R665.

Meanwhile, a Vumatel fibre package with the same speed on the Axxess network would cost R775.

The table below shows the prices of various 10Mbps DSL packages on the Openserve network compared to 10Mbps fibre packages from several providers.

The bolded price indicates the cheapest package available from each ISP.

Note that we did not include asymmetrical fibre packages, which appears to have been dropped by Vumatel.

10Mbps Openserve DSL vs Fibre prices
Uncapped Package Infrastructure provider Price
Afrihost 10Mbps/2Mbps DSL Openserve R697
Afrihost 10Mbps/10Mbps Fibre Vumatel R749
Frogfoot R657
MetroFibre R737
Evotel R767
Axxess 10Mbps/2Mbps DSL Openserve R395
Axxess 10Mbps/10Mbps Fibre Vumatel R755
Frogfoot R665
MetroFibre R695
Evotel R775
Cybersmart 10Mbps/2Mbps DSL Openserve R579
Cybersmart 10Mbps/10Mbps Fibre Vumatel R629
Frogfoot R749
MWEB 10Mbps/2Mbps DSL Openserve R599
MWEB 10Mbps/10Mbps Fibre Vumatel R689
Frogfoot R729
MetroFibre R649
Evotel R679
RSAWEB 10Mbps/2Mbps DSL Openserve R724
RSAWEB 10Mbps/10Mbps Fibre Vumatel R695
Frogfoot R669
MetroFibre R655
Link Africa R595
Vox 10Mbps/2Mbps DSL Openserve R375
Vox 10Mbps/10Mbps Fibre Vumatel R699
Frogfoot R654
MetroFibre R725
Evotel R675
Webafrica 10Mbps/1Mbps DSL Openserve R569
Webafrica 10Mbps/1Mbps Fibre Vumatel R699
Frogfoot R599
MetroFibre R699
Link Africa R599

Now read: Cheapest fibre prices ever in South Africa

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10Mbps DSL vs 10Mbps fibre – Copper makes a comeback