Free Internet speed upgrades for South Africans during lockdown

South African ISPs and fibre network operators are working together to upgrade customer line speeds at no charge.

Vumatel recently announced that it would upgrade the line speeds of existing users on its fibre network at no additional cost from 1 April until 31 May 2020.

“We have a responsibility to make it easier for people to stay connected as they navigate the next few weeks of working and learning from home,” said Vumatel CCO Simon Butler.

Vumatel said fibre subscribers will receive the next-higher line speed on its network, as listed below.

1Gbps customers will not receive a speed upgrade, as this is the maximum line speed.

Vumatel Speed Upgrades
Old Download Speed New Download Speed
10Mbps 20Mbps
20Mbps 50Mbps
50Mbps 100Mbps
100Mbps 200Mbps
200Mbps 1Gbps

The fibre network operator said that it was in discussions with ISPs regarding the initiative, adding that ISPs who have the capacity to participate will do so.

MyBroadband spoke to local ISPs about whether they would implement these line speed changes.

ISPs confirm fibre upgrades

RSAWEB, Afrihost, Axxess, Webafrica, Cool Ideas, Vox, and MWEB all confirmed they would offer these line speed upgrades to their customers from 1 April 2020.

“We are currently in contact with Vumatel to finalise logistics,” Afrihost told MyBroadband.

“Afrihost clients should keep an eye on their inboxes as we will be sending further communication later this week explaining exactly how this will work.”

“This offer seeks to encourage customers to protect themselves from the threat of exposure of COVID-19 by working remotely and entertaining themselves in the safety of their homes,” RSAWEB said.

“To make this as easy and convenient as possible, all Vumatel customers will be automatically upgraded from 1 April.”

It should be noted that this free fibre line speed upgrade will only be available to Vumatel clients who are connected before 31 May 2020.

Customers who qualify for these upgrades should expect more information from their ISP this week.

“We will contact clients within this week to let them know how this will work and how they can also get faster fibre Internet at no extra cost,” Afrihost said.

Frogfoot to upgrade, Openserve silent

A number of ISPs told MyBroadband they were also in discussions with Frogfoot regarding a similar free upgrade for customers.

When asked if it will upgrade line speeds at no extra cost, Frogfoot confirmed it would at least double the line speed of customers from 1 April until 30 June 2020.

“All Home packages will be upgraded at no additional cost to a minimum of double the line speed of the current line from 1 April 2020 and will be reduced back to the original line speed on 30 June 2020,” the company said.

“We will not be offering this upgrade in George and Port Elizabeth, and new build areas where they will not be live before the time that the promo ends.”

“There are added terms and conditions and they will need to contact their ISP for more info,” Frogfoot added.

Existing Frogfoot customers will have their line speeds automatically upgraded on 1 April, while new users can order their package beforehand and will be upgraded when the offer goes live.

MyBroadband asked Openserve whether it would offer free speed upgrades for customers, but the company did not respond by the time of publication.

The table below shows the “Double Up Promotion” speed upgrades for Frogfoot customers.

Frogfoot Speed Upgrades
Old Download Speed New Download Speed
5Mbps 10Mbps
10Mbps 20Mbps
20Mbps 50Mbps
50Mbps 100Mbps
100Mbps 200Mbps
200Mbps 500Mbps
500Mbps 1Gbps

Now read: How South African mobile networks are coping with the coronavirus

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Free Internet speed upgrades for South Africans during lockdown