The cost of broadband services in South Africa is finally being driven down by competition, despite Telkom still holding a monopoly over the internet market.
Today, Vox Telecom has joined MWeb by announcing the introduction of uncapped ADSL services for our consumers.
“We are revamping all our broadband solutions to cater for the widest spectrum of users, ranging from people who are extremely price-sensitive to those looking for the very highest quality experience.
Our consumer-oriented @lantic internet service provider is ready to launch its new broadband offering, while Vox Datapro and Vox Telepreneur are busy revamping their ranges.
Vox Telecom/@lantic will be launching bundled ADSL offerings which include both ADSL access and an uncapped ISP account. Vox’s pricing is even more aggressive that MWEB’s pricing:
- Uncapped All-inclusive 384kbps: R339
- Uncapped All-inclusive 512kbps: R589
- Uncapped All-inclusive 4096kbps: R889
This move will give our customers unlimited access to the internet for a fixed monthly fee, with no sudden and frustrating cut-off when they reach the caps that were previously in place.
With Vox Datapro the accent will be on quality and flexibility for corporate customers. The package being created by Vox Telepreneur will create a simplified, uncapped offering designed for small businesses and consumers, and sold through our network of more than 4,000 dealers.
MWeb must be applauded for making some heavy investments in infrastructure, which have allowed it to offer uncapped bandwidth to the market. Yet the degree to which Vox, MWeb and every other player in the market can cut their tariffs is frustratingly highly constrained by Telkom.
Telkom still owns the local loop – that last mile of copper wire that reaches into residential and business premises. Despite years of promises from the industry regulator, Icasa, the local loop has still not been freed up for all service providers to use.
That means ISPs still pay heavily for the right to use a facility that was funded by taxpayers in the first place. Since access to the local loop can account for up to 90% of the fees ISPs charge their customers, further significant price cuts can only be unleashed when the regulator finally delivers on its promise to unbundle the local loop.
Uncapped internet access is the way the market has to go. It’s what consumers want and expect and it’s what they do overseas. But it’s ridiculous that ISPs are providing these price reductions while Telkom, which has all the infrastructure and is clearly in the best position to drive down prices, is happy to let the private sector lead the way. Imagine the cost cuts that would ensue if South Africa really enjoyed full competition in the market.
The message to our telecommunications regulator is clear: nothing is more effective than letting the free market determine pricing. It is imperative that Icasa’s plans to liberate the industry are accelerated, since local loop unbundling and number portability will let us unlock further price cuts.”
Vox Telecom uncapped << discussion
Douglas Reed is the Managing Director of Vox Telecom