Supersonic recently launched Unlimited Air Fibre, a new uncapped wireless Internet service starting at R399 per month.
Unlike most wireless solutions on the market, Air Fibre will not run on a mobile network but will operate on unlicensed frequency spectrum in the 5.8GHz band.
To compensate for the noise typically found in this band due to other devices, the solution uses advanced noise cancellation techniques to ensure fast, uninterrupted connectivity.
The company previously told MyBroadband that it was not looking to take on fibre network providers, but rather wanted to bring uncapped and reliable broadband to locations where fibre was not available.
This makes it a prime contender in a market which has been dominated by mobile network operator Rain.
Many South Africans who don’t reside in areas with fibre coverage have turned to the company’s uncapped 4G and 5G packages to meet their data requirements.
At just R479 per month, Rain’s uncapped 4G package for all devices is less than half the monthly R999 price of its closest rivals – Telkom and Supersonic’s Uncapped LTE products.
We compared Rain’s existing product range with Supersonic Air Fibre to see which packages are best for uncapped home connectivity.
Important speed differences
Supersonic has said the network technology behind Air Fibre makes it capable of offering consistent bit-rates, similar to how fixed-line connections work.
Air Fibre starts with an entry-level package boasting 5Mbps download speeds at R399 per month and peaks at 100Mbps for R999 per month.
Rain’s 4G and 5G packages are called “best-effort” services, which means they cannot guarantee a minimum download and upload speed.
Instead, the user will get speeds up to a certain maximum figure – such as the uncapped 4G package reaching up to 10Mbps, for example.
This is not guaranteed, however, and numerous MyBroadband readers have complained of Rain 4G download speeds around the 1-2Mbps mark.
Despite both products being described as “Unlimited”, Supersonic has claimed Air Fibre is the only truly unlimited option.
This is because, in addition to being uncapped, the ISP has said it will not throttle or shape the product in any way.
Therefore, users won’t be subjected to slower speeds when using certain Internet protocols such as torrents, reaching a particular usage threshold, or when using a VPN.
ISPs often throttle or shape their products as part of a Fair Usage Policy (FUP) in order to prevent abuse of network resources by users.
This can be done to avoid one demanding user from putting a strain on the network through excessive downloads or resale of a connection.
This approach is very common for mobile packages – including certain products offered by Rain – as the added issue of overpopulated frequency spectrum comes into play.
Rain throttles streaming quality on its uncapped 4G package and entry-level 5G offers to below the potential of their respective connection speeds.
In addition, it was recently revealed that the company is throttling speeds when using VPNs on 4G, while several MyBroadband forum members have complained it does the same on its 5G Standard product.
The table below compares the pricing, speeds, and throttling details of Supersonic’s various Unlimited Air Fibre with Rain’s uncapped 4G and 5G packages.
|Supersonic Unlimited Air Fibre vs Rain Unlimited 4G and 5G|
|Plan||Speed||Streaming throttling||VPN throttling||Latency||Price|
|Supersonic Unlimited Air Fibre 5Mbps||Constant 5Mbps / 2Mbps||No – 1080p quality||No||15-20ms||R399|
|Rain Unlimited 4G 24/7 Any Device||Up to 10Mbps / 10Mbps||Yes – 360p quality||Yes||30ms-50ms||R479|
|Supersonic Unlimited Air Fibre 10Mbps||Constant 10Mbps / 5Mbps||No – 1080p quality||No||15-20ms||R499|
|Supersonic Unlimited Air Fibre 20Mbps||Constant 20Mbps / 10Mbps||No – Multiple 1080p streams||No||15-20ms||R599|
|Rain Unlimited 5G Standard||Up to 30Mbps download||Yes – 720p quality||Yes||10ms-20ms||R679|
|Supersonic Unlimited Air Fibre 50Mbps||Constant 50Mbps / 20Mbps||No – 4K quality||No||15-20ms||R799|
|Supersonic Unlimited Air Fibre 100Mbps||Constant 100Mbps / 40Mbps||No – 4K quality||No||15-20ms||R999|
|Rain Unlimited 5G Premium||“Ultrafast 5G download speeds” – ITU minimum is 100Mbps||No – 4K quality||No||10ms-20ms||R999|