Afrihost recently launched uncapped 5Mbps Pure DSL service for R297 per month which served as a reminder that uncapped broadband has become truly affordable in South Africa.
The days when only businesses and rich households could afford fast, unlimited Internet access is truly behind us.
To understand how far South Africa has come you have to go back to 2009 when ADSL data still cost around R70 per GB.
Most ADSL subscribers were forced to use less than 3GB of data per month. If you exceeded this limit you were forced to buy prepaid ADSL data at R70 per GB.
Afrihost changed the game in September 2009 when it cut the price of ADSL data to R29 per GB. It shook the ISP market to its core, but it did not change the overall cost of an ADSL service too much.
ADSL subscribers still had to pay high ADSL access and line rental fees – which were controlled by Telkom – and broadband remained a luxury product.
The turning point in the journey towards affordable uncapped broadband came when Mweb launched unlimited ADSL accounts starting at R219 per month.
An uncapped ADSL service which previously cost thousands per month was now available to residential customers for a total cost of under R500 per month.
Since then, many things happened to further drive down uncapped broadband prices, including:
- Lower international bandwidth prices.
- Free and open peering.
- Increased competition from new fibre network operators like Vumatel and Frogfoot.
- Fixed-wireless products, including 4G and 5G services, started to compete against ADSL and fibre.
The combination of lower wholesale bandwidth costs, free peering, and increased competition saw broadband speeds shoot up while prices plummeted.
It also encouraged Openserve to launch a new Pure Connect wholesale product, commonly known as ‘naked ADSL’.
This made it possible for consumers to get a broadband service from their ISP without being forced to get a copper line from Telkom.
This new Pure Connect service, along with free speed upgrades from Openserve, are behind Afrihost’s recent uncapped DSL price cuts.
DSL has now become an attractive option for people who do not have fibre coverage in their neighbourhood.
With the latest price cuts, it raises the question which products offer the most affordable uncapped broadband access in South Africa.
The table below provides an overview of the latest uncapped fixed-broadband products from prominent Internet service providers.
|Uncapped Broadband Prices in South Africa|
|ISP||Technology||Download Speed||Monthly price|