Satellite Internet packages in South Africa — Speeds and prices compared

South Africans living in rural areas without mobile or fixed network coverage can get Internet access through a satellite broadband provider.

Satellite connectivity is expected to play a much bigger role in the global broadband space in the coming years, thanks to the emergence of several low-earth orbit (LEO) operators.

These include services such as SpaceX’s Starlink, which already has over 3,500 satellites providing coverage in at least 50 countries.

Starlink disrupted the traditional satellite consumer connectivity sector because it offers faster speeds and lower latency than existing services.

That is because its LEO satellites are much closer to Earth than the geostationary satellites used by major providers like Eutelsat, HughesNet, and Viasat.

LEO satellites are also smaller and operate in larger fleets, allowing operators to expand their networks to increase capacity.

Along with its proprietary technology, this allows Starlink to support download speeds up to 500Mbps, similar to a high-end fibre package.

In South Africa, the fastest satellite Internet speed generally available to home users is 50Mbps.

In addition, the latency of existing services is over 600 milliseconds (ms), compared to Starlink’s 40ms to 50ms.

While conventional satellite Internet is not ideal for latency-sensitive use cases like online multiplayer gaming or video conferencing, Starlink is perfectly capable of handling these types of applications.

However, it is unclear when Starlink will become available in South Africa, as SpaceX seems to be encountering some regulatory hurdles with respect to getting clearance from Icasa for a local rollout.

Starlink dish

MyBroadband compared some of the current uncapped satellite services to see what options were available to households in the most rural parts of the country.

Eutelsat and HughesNet offer satellite Internet to home users in South Africa through several ISPs — including DSL Telecom Connect, MorClick, and Vox.

These packages have download speeds ranging from 5Mbps to 50Mbps, and prices from about R710 to over R2,600 per month.

That might not sound too expensive considering the hardware costs and their ability to support connectivity from anywhere in the country.

But these packages have one significant caveat — stringent fair usage policies (FUPs) that significantly limit speeds after customers consume relatively low amounts of data.

For example, the cheapest 5/2Mbps packages on Eutelsat’s network get throttled to 1Mbps speeds after your first 100GB for the month.

After the next 100GB, speeds will creep to an agonisingly slow 512kbps.

The picture gets a bit better with the more expensive packages — like the 20/3Mbps package on Hughesnet available from Vox at R1,228 per month.

In this instance, the minimum speed you will be throttled to is 2Mbps, which is much more usable.

It is also important to note that all the packages are only available on long-term contracts and require the customer to pay an upfront fee to install the on-premise equipment (satellite antenna and router) needed to receive connectivity.

The table below compares the satellite Internet packages available to homes in South Africa.

Satellite Internet packages in South Africa — Uncapped
Package Satellite operator Download/Upload speeds Fair usage policy and upfront payments
Price
DSL Telecom Connect 5/2Mbps Eutelsat 5/2Mbps One-time setup fee: R1,084.30
After 100GB consumption: Throttled to 1/1Mbps
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 512/512kbps
R709.76 x 24
Vox 5/2Mbps Eutelsat 5/2Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 100GB consumption: Throttled to 1/1Mbps
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 512/512kbps
R710 x 24
MorClick Unlimited 10/3  YahClick by HughesNet 10/3Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 150GB consumption: Throttled to 3Mbps
After 250GB consumption: Throttled to 2Mbps
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 512kbps
R949 x 24
DSL Telecom Connect 10/3Mbps Eutelsat 10/3Mbps One-time setup fee: R1,084.30
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 2.5/2.5Mbps
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 1/1Mbps
R1,002.70 x 24
Vox 10/3Mbps Eutelsat 10/3Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 2.5/2.5Mbps
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 1/1Mbps
R1,010 x 24
Vox 10/3Mbps YahClick by HughesNet 10/3Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 150GB consumption: Throttled to 5Mbps
After 250GB consumption: Throttled to 3Mbps
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 1.5Mbps
R1,108 x 24
MorClick Unlimited 20/3 YahClick by HughesNet 20/3Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 7Mbps
After 350GB consumption: Throttled to 3Mbps
After 400GB consumption: Throttled to 512kbps
R1,199 x 24
Vox 20/3Mbps YahClick by HughesNet 20/3Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 200GB: Throttled to 10Mbps
After 350GB: Throttled to 5Mbps
After 400GB consumption: Throttled to 2Mbps
R1,228 x 24
DSL Telecom Connect 20/3Mbps Eutelsat 20/3Mbps One-time setup fee: R1,084.30
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 5/3Mbps
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 2/2Mbps
R1,382.45 x 24
Vox 20/3Mbps Eutelsat 20/3Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 5/3Mbps
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 2/2Mbps
R1,389 x 24
Vox 30/5Mbps Eutelsat 30/5Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 10/5Mpbs
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 4/4Mbps
R1,879 x 24
DSL Telecom Connect 30/5Mbps Eutelsat 30/5Mbps One-time setup fee: R1,084.30
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 10/5Mpbs
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 4/4Mbps
R1,870.64 x 24
Vox 50/5Mbps Eutelsat 50/5Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 15/5Mbps
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 5/5Mbps
R2,639 x 24
DSL Telecom Connect 50/5Mbps Eutelsat 50/5Mbps One-time setup fee: R999
After 200GB consumption: Throttled to 15/5Mbps
After 300GB consumption: Throttled to 5/5Mbps
R2,653.01 x 24

Now read: Starlink rolling out global roaming service — with more bad news for South Africa

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Satellite Internet packages in South Africa — Speeds and prices compared