Uncapped broadband price war — ADSL now cheaper than fibre in South Africa

Uncapped ADSL products are now much cheaper than comparable fibre connections following the introduction of naked DSL in South Africa.

For many years fibre offered the most affordable uncapped connectivity because ADSL and VDSL users were forced to pay Telkom for a landline, which cost over R200 per month.

This all changed in April last year when Openserve launched a new product for its DSL-based broadband services called Pure Connect.

Better known as naked ADSL, the new product allows customers to buy a DSL service directly from their ISPs without having to get a copper line from Telkom.

Openserve CEO Althon Beukes predicted that Pure Connect would transform the pricing and product sets across its portfolio.

He was right. Internet service providers (ISPs) quickly reacted to Openserve’s new Pure Connect service by offering aggressively priced uncapped DSL products.

Openserve Pure Connect has breathed new life into DSL and extended its shelf life.

Telkom previously said it planned to decommission its copper network by 2024. This is no longer the case.

Openserve said the COVID-19 pandemic has made it evident there is an immediate need to provide affordable broadband connectivity to home users.

In the short term, the expansion of next-generation access such as fibre will not be sufficient to meet this demand.

Openserve’s copper-based broadband access — ADSL and VDSL — provides a reliable option as they expand their fibre footprint closer to the home.

ADSL is therefore here to stay. Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko confirmed it in a recent interview, saying their future broadband portfolio will include a blend of technologies, including fibre, wireless, and copper.

Telkom will, however, continue its decommissioning strategy in locations where copper is not “economically viable”.

ADSL versus fibre prices

To assess the impact of Openserve Pure Connect on ADSL prices, MyBroadband looked at the pricing from high profile ISPs – Afrihost, Axxess, Mweb, and Webafrica.

It revealed that uncapped ADSL prices for 10Mbps and 20Mbps products were significantly cheaper than comparable fibre products from Vumatel.

Afrihost, for example, charges R397 for an uncapped 10Mbps ADSL service while an uncapped 10Mbps product on Vumatel fibre costs R749.

The same goes for a 20Mbps service. Axxess, for example, charges R595 per month for an uncapped 20Mbps ADSL connection, much lower than the R915 it costs on Vumatel fibre.

The table below provides a comparison of ADSL and fibre-to-the-home prices on Vumatel’s network from prominent ISPs.

Vumatel was selected because it offers comparable speeds to ADSL – 10Mbps and 20Mbps – and because it is operates the biggest fibre-to-the-home network in South Africa.

Price Comparison – ADSL vs Vumatel Fibre
Afrihost ADSL Vumatel Fibre
Uncapped 10Mbps R397 R749
Uncapped 20Mbps R597 R907
Axxess ADSL Vumatel Fibre
Uncapped 10Mbps R395 R755
Uncapped 20Mbps R595 R915
Webafrica ADSL Vumatel Fibre
Uncapped 10Mbps R569 R809
Uncapped 20Mbps R669 R979
Mweb ADSL Vumatel Fibre
Uncapped 10Mbps R599 R689
Uncapped 20Mbps R699 R849

Now read: Openserve launches “Naked ADSL”

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Uncapped broadband price war — ADSL now cheaper than fibre in South Africa