Fibre Internet connections are becoming increasingly popular in South Africa as infrastructure continues to roll out and users migrate from ADSL lines.
One of the big advantages of fibre packages compared to ADSL is the increased connection speeds.
These high-speed fibre products can be quite expensive, however, especially if you opt for an uncapped package to make the most of your upgraded bandwidth.
One year of 100Mbps uncapped fibre can cost anywhere between R13,000 and R18,000, making the connection a serious investment.
MyBroadband spoke to local ISPs about the uptake of uncapped fibre packages among local customers to determine whether South Africans were happy to pay more for unlimited data usage.
Webafrica’s Greg Wright told MyBroadband that the vast majority of the ISP’s new fibre sales are uncapped products.
“Recently, as much as 99% of all our fibre sales pertain to uncapped packages,” Wright said.
He added that across the company’s customer base, approximately 80% of fibre customers are on uncapped packages.
Wright also noted a trend towards the adoption of uncapped fibre packages regardless of speed, especially on the Openserve network.
“Prior to the launch of our entry-level uncapped packages on the Openserve network, capped packages were very popular,” Wright said.
“As soon as we launched we saw a significant shift toward uncapped.”
“While we still offer a limited number of capped packages on Vumatel, Octotel, and Frogfoot, the sign-up rate pales in comparison to uncapped sign-ups,” he said.
MWEB marketing manager Karin O’Donoghue told MyBroadband that the company has seen a steady migration to uncapped packages.
“Yes, we’ve seen a swing to uncapped,” O’Donoghue said. “We believe that this is due to the convenience of uncapped and the changes made by providers that allow us to offer no-threshold products.”
She added that the ratio of customers with uncapped fibre packages versus those with capped packages vary according to provider.
“Overall, it is roughly 60/40 for us at the moment.”
O’Donoghue said that the trend towards uncapped fibre packages is not affected by the speed of the fibre line in question.
Cybersmart CTO Laurie Fialkov told MyBroadband that there is a major trend towards uncapped packages.
Cybersmart only offers a single capped fibre package – a 10GB package which is available for free.
“More than 90% of customers choose uncapped packages,” Fialkov said.
“In fact, they will rather go on a 20Mbps uncapped package than a large capped package at 500Mbps, even though it would be highly unlikely that they exceed the cap on the 500Mbps package.”
He speculated that this movement towards uncapped data products may be due to the increasing popularity of streaming services.
“People do not want to worry about, calculate, or ration their data usage, so it is just much easier for them to buy uncapped,” he said.