By Ryan Brothwell – BusinessTech Journalist
In July, Telkom unveiled a SmartBroadband Wireless LTE and LTE-A deal that gave contract and prepaid subscribers 500GB of Night Surfer data for R50.
The 500GB Night Surfer data is valid for 31 days after purchase and can be used between midnight and 07:00 daily.
As someone who spends a large part of the weekend consuming content, and downloading games, series, and movies in the evenings, the deal seemed too good to be true.
The fact that an LTE connection would also be faster than my current 10Mbps fixed line at home was another bonus.
I visited a Telkom store soon after the deal was launched to sign up for a prepaid LTE data package, with the aim of getting a router and SIM, and then slapping in the 500GB bundle.
I soon discovered I was not the only one with a need for LTE data.
On arrival at the Greenstone store, there was line out the door – with customers queuing for the Telkom Big Deal for August.
I managed to get an LTE router, however, and was soon back at home – setting up the device to access the 1,800MHz band only.
Once I had played with the settings and read up on using one router aerial instead of two, my LTE connection was running at 25Mbps–30Mbps.
Begin the downloads
I went all out on the first two days of downloading, racking up over 120GB of usage.
The downloads after-hours were fast and consistent, and the “too good to be true” feeling quickly disappeared.
My LTE connection then received a boost later that week when I grabbed a spare LTE-A router from the office to see how fast I could get through the 500GB.
Hooking up the LTE-A router saw my speeds increase to 30Mbps-40Mbps when running speed tests, while downloads from services like Steam, Xbox Live, and Showmax often reached the 40Mbps mark.
I also saw a decrease in my ping times when using the LTE-A router, which was a pleasant surprise.
With the new router running, I smashed another 200GB in a few days, before the first limit kicked in – my imagination. I had run out of things to download.
My hard drive had also started to fill up, and I really did not want to delete all the seasons of Friends I had accrued.
More than enough
If you plan to use Telkom’s 500GB Night Surfer LTE data for movies and series downloads – such as those available on Netflix and Showmax – game updates or purchases, and getting your favourite version of Linux, it is some serious work to reach the 500GB cap within a month.
The only potential issue you may encounter is finding a reliable download manager which allows you to schedule your downloads for midnight to 07:00.
Certain gaming and streaming services also don’t support scheduled downloads, which means you will have to whip out the coffee to ensure you take full advantage of the Night Surfer deal.