Capped ADSL making a comeback

Over the last four years, there has been a massive migration from capped ADSL accounts to uncapped services. This followed MWEB’s launch of South Africa’s first affordable uncapped ADSL products in March 2010, with other ISPs following suit.

Many people felt that the complete demise of capped ADSL products was inevitable, but according to some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) they are seeing growth in this market.

Afrihost director Greg Payne said that they have definitely seen capped products gain popularity.

“It depends on the individual users’ requirements, but we are seeing a lot of people choosing our high capped products which have enough data for most users’ requirements,” said Payne.

Afrihost CEO Gian Visser added that many clients enjoy choosing their cap based on their average monthly usage – especially when they know their speeds will always be constant, unshaped and fast, no matter the time of day or night.

Vox Telecom director Douglas Reed said that while capped ADSL offers superior service levels to the uncapped alternatives, it will remain attractive to the discerning users.

“From an ISP’s point-of-view, capped products provide more insight into the costs and control over the quality,” said Reed.

“We do not have to price to cater for the mean average where the smaller consumers subsidise large consumers and use shaping to balance the service.”

“At Vox Telecom it is critical that our network remains superior and, as a result, we resell other networks’ uncapped services, but provide our own capped services,” said Reed.

Cybersmart CEO Laurie Fialkov said that both products have their place – the same as all you can eat restaurants have their place.

“An ‘all you can eat’ restaurant offers you fantastic value for money and you have a fixed price. The downside is that you have to accept what food is in the buffet,” he said.

Capped products are gaining popularity, Fialkov said, because when uncapped was launched the impression was that it was an all you can eat at a fine dining restaurant.

“As the products evolved it became clear that it was not viable to cater for everyone’s tastes at a fixed price and customers who were affected by this decided to move onto capped,” said Fialkov.

Uncapped ADSL still king: MWEB

MWEB ISP CEO Derek Hershaw said that while some capped products are more affordable for some of the market, uncapped ADSL still offers the best overall value.

Uncapped ADSL also has the added benefit of not having to manage a data cap or watch your usage.

“You cannot ignore the continuous growth in the demand for data. As the number of mobile devices grows (smartphones and tablets) this adds to the data consumption on fixed-line, via WiFi in the home / office,” said Hershaw.

“So, I think some capped offerings will always be attractive and have their place but overall, uncapped will continue to grow as a percentage of the total ADSL market.”

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Capped ADSL making a comeback