Fibre to the home connection and ISP switching fees compared

Several of South Africa’s top Internet service providers recently complained to MyBroadband about Vumatel’s fibre installation and activation charges.

Part of the problem, they said, is that Vumatel charges a full activation fee when subscribers want to switch ISPs.

Two of the biggest ISPs in the country said they now prefer selling products from other fibre providers because of Vumatel’s high installation fee.

Vumatel explained that its installation fee of R1,500 (excl. VAT) is already heavily subsidised and includes the material, hardware, and labour costs associated with the installation.

While ISPs typically choose to pass on this cost to the consumer, Vumatel said there are also ISPs who run regular promotions during which they absorb the installation cost.

Vumatel argued that a better way to compare the price of fibre-to-the-home providers is to look at the total cost of ownership from a consumer perspective.

Just looking at the initial fees does not tell the whole story, as some fibre infrastructure providers may elect not to charge lower up-front costs, but then charge higher recurring monthly fees.

A simple comparison of the installation and activation charges of various infrastructure operators in South Africa shows that Vumatel is not the only company that charges for switching from one ISP to another – as detailed below.


There are several types of fees which my apply to Openserve fibre installations.

Openserve Connect charges an installation fee for the first 8 metres of trenching and unblocking of pipes, with additional trenching charged at a per-metre rate.

While other networks did not explain their installation fees in this detail, many operate on the same principle.

Openserve then charges a recurring monthly fee for the use of its infrastructure. The ISP then adds its price for access to the Internet to this for the total bill.

Openserve also charges the following non-recurring fees:

  • Service Activation – Charged when activating a service, but no installation is required.
  • Call Out – When a technician gets dispatched for a fault that is not on the Openserve network.
  • Re-grading – Upgrading or downgrading line speeds.

Openserve declined to disclose its pricing, but MyBroadband was able to obtain a price list from an Internet service provider. Openserve offers lower pricing to ISPs depending on the length of contract they sign.

MetroFibre Networx

MetroFibre Networx charges different installation fees depending on the type of residence. Its fees include the first 15 metres of trenching.

Its fees are inclusive of VAT and are:

  • Complexes/MDUs – R862.50
  • Free-standing homes – R1,150
  • Agricultural holdings – R2,300


Faircape Group’s infrastructure business charges an installation fee the first time it rolls out to a residence. Its fee is R1,500 excl. VAT.

Installation fees for businesses is dependant on a site visit and quotation.


Cybersmart’s prices are available at

It explained that there are three prices:

  1. Activation/setup/migration/reconnection – a non-recurring cost.
  2. Circuit fee – a recurring cost which is a function of the installation fee, as well as the type of service.
  3. A variable recurring charge which represents the speed of the circuit.

Cybersmart’s Lightspeed service allows subscribers to dial their speeds up and down as they need. This is reflected in the variable charge. If you never change your speed, the variable charge will never change.

If it does change, your ISP is billed for the sum of the highest upload and download speed ration on that particular day, at a set rate.

ISPs can reduce this variable fee by increasing the size of their network-to-network interconnect they have with Cybersmart.

Cybersmart does charge a reconnection or migration fee where its infrastructure is already installed, but the company said that these are much lower than its initial installation costs.

For residential installations, Cybersmart offers a low, medium, and high installation cost. The higher the initial installation cost you pay, the lower your monthly recurring fee.


The company did not provide comment.

FTTH once-off fees

The table below summarises the fees of FTTH providers.

FTTH fees Installation Activation/Connection Upgrade/Downgrade Migration
Openserve* R2,132–R2,300 R533–R575 R107–R115 R533–R575
Vumatel R1,725 R1,007.77 R0 R1,007.77
MetroFibre Networx R862.50–R2,300 R575 R0 R575
SA Digital Villages R999-R1,700 R0 R0 R0
Internect R1,725 R0 R0 R0
Octotel R1,725 R0 R0 R863
Cybersmart R1,499–R3,999 R0 R0 Less than installation
Frogfoot R1,725 R0 R0 R1,725

*Price provided by ISP.

Now read: South African estates are telling closed fibre networks to get lost

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Fibre to the home connection and ISP switching fees compared