Fibre price war — Best and worst network operators in South Africa

Openserve is the most affordable fibre network operator (FNO) in South Africa while Vumatel is the most expensive.

This was revealed in an analysis of fibre-to-the-home prices of four prominent Internet service providers (ISPs) — Afrihost, Axxess, Vox, and Webafrica.

2021 has been an excellent year for broadband in South Africa, with fibre network operators and ISPs doubling speeds for free and cutting prices.

Openserve started the price war in March when it upgraded speeds and cut prices on its fibre products.

The speed upgrades came at no additional cost to its ISP partners, aside from the additional bandwidth they needed to accommodate their customers’ increased data usage. This gave ISPs an incentive to easily upgrade their customers.

Other fibre network operators, including Frogfoot, MetroFibre, and Herotel, reacted by significantly improving their value propositions.

These benefits were passed on to consumers who now enjoy higher speeds at lower prices.

Not all consumers benefitted, though. It depends on the area in which you live and the fibre network operator available to you.

Not all fibre operators increased speeds or cut prices and there is no competitive pressure which will force them to do so.

There is little competitive pressure on FNOs because when an operator is active in an area, it is unlikely that another operator will also deploy a fibre network in that area.

This creates localised fibre monopolies where people living in that area only have one choice when they want to get fibre.

An operator can therefore keep their prices high without any concern that they will lose customers to a competing fibre provider.

This has caused a situation where there is now a big difference in pricing in the same service from the same ISP which is delivered over different networks.

A symmetrical 100Mbps fibre service, for example, ranges between R897 and R1,247 on Afrihost depending on which network you choose.

Fibre network operator pricing comparison

To see how the price differs when using different fibre network operators, MyBroadband compared the price for a symmetrical 100Mbps service from Afrihost, Axxess, Vox, and Webafrica.

MyBroadband selected the largest fibre network operators for this comparison – Vumatel, Openserve, Frogfoot, Octotel, and Metrofibre Networks.

What emerged was that Openserve was the most affordable while Vumatel was the most expensive.

The average price for a 100Mbps service on Openserve’s network is R903 per month, slightly cheaper than R948 on Frogfoot’s network.

On the other end of the scale, the average price for a 100Mbps service on Vumatel’s network is R1,270.

The table below shows the average price for a 100Mbps fibre service from prominent fibre network operators.

Fibre Network Operator Pricing
Network Operator Download Speed Upload Speed Average Price
Openserve 100Mbps 50Mbps R903
Frogfoot 100Mbps 100Mbps R948
Octotel 100Mbps 100Mbps R1,148
Metrofibre Networks 100Mbps 100Mbps R1,239
Vumatel 100Mbps 100Mbps R1,270

Now read: South African ISPs slash prices and increase speeds

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Fibre price war — Best and worst network operators in South Africa