Telkom vs Afrihost — The battle for cheapest fibre packages in South Africa

When it comes to packages on fibre networks other than its own Openserve network, Telkom is an expensive option when compared to other major Internet service providers (ISPs).

Telkom recently ruffled the feathers of rival ISPs with its cheap pricing for entry-level home fibre packages on the Openserve network.

Starting at just R399 per month for a 25Mbps/5Mbps line, it is substantially cheaper than its rivals.

ISPs have argued out that Telkom must be making a loss on this package, as its monthly price was cheaper than the rental cost of the line.

However, a quick analysis of its other offerings shows that it may be subsidising this loss with larger profit margins on other packages.

We decided to compare the pricing of fibre packages on Telkom, Afrihost, and Cool Ideas to see which was the cheapest across the three major fibre network operators where all of them offered products — Openserve, Vumatel, and Frogfoot.

Openserve infrastructure
Openserve infrastructure in Midstream Estate

Before getting to the actual monthly prices, it is important to consider the fine print on any contract terms, installation, connection, and router fees on the packages.

An important difference between Telkom and the other two ISPs is that its advertised prices are based on a 12-month contract, while the others are offered on a month-to-month basis.

While you have the option to take out Telkom’s packages on a month-to-month plan, you would then also have to pay for the router, installation, and a connection fee.

Telkom charges around R1,300 for the router, R1,725 for the installation, and R1,008 for the connection fee, a total of just over R4,000.

Afrihost does not charge installation or connection fees and offers a free-to-use router with its packages.

It does, however, charge a R999 cancellation fee if you decide to cancel your package within six months of installation.

Cool Ideas also provides a free-to-use router on all of its packages and covers the installation cost for the first eight metres of trenching on Openserve’s network.

On Frogfoot and Vumatel’s networks, you have to pay a once-off R999 connection fee if you want to have the freedom to cancel within 12 months without being penalised.

Frogfoot fibre being trenched

While Telkom was the cheapest for most of the packages on its own Openserve network, it was the most expensive option for all except one package on Vumatel and Frogfoot’s networks.

Although Telkom offers a number of additional asymmetric packages on the Vumatel network with slightly lower upload speeds, these are more expensive than the asymmetric packages from Afrihost and Cool Ideas.

This means even if you don’t require a big upload speed, the packages from Afrihost and Cool Ideas will be cheaper.

For example, Openserve has a Vumatel 50Mbps/5Mbps offer which is priced at R999 per month. The Vumatel 50Mbps/50Mbps packages from Afrihost and Cool Ideas cost R899 and R929, respectively.

In addition, Telkom does not offer any packages with a download speed above 200Mbps.

The table below compares the pricing of various fibre packages from Telkom, Afrihost, and Cool Ideas on the three major fibre network operators used in this comparison.

The cheapest prices are indicated in green, second-most affordable in orange, and most expensive in red. Where only one ISP offered a certain package, prices were kept in black.

Telkom vs Afrihost vs Cool Ideas – Fibre prices compared 
Download/Upload speed Telkom Afrihost Cool Ideas
30/3Mbps R730 R497
30/30Mbps R799 R597 R749
50/5Mbps R799 R697
50/50Mbps R899 R797 R849
100/10Mbps R899 R797
100/100Mbps R999 R897 R949
200/20Mbps R949
200/200Mbps R1,099 R997 R1,199
500/500Mbps R1,297 R1,499
1,000/1,000Mbps R1,497 R1,699
25/5Mbps R399
25/25Mbps R449 R597 R599
50/25Mbps R699 R797 R819
100/50Mbps R899 R917 R999
200/100Mbps R1,169 R1,117 R1,199
20/10Mbps R699 R697 R749
50/5Mbps R999
50/50Mbps R1,099 R897 R929
100/10Mbps R1,099
100/100Mbps R1,249 R997 R1,099
200/20Mbps R1,299
200/200Mbps R1,399 R1,147 R1,349
1,000/200Mbps R1,147 R1,499
1,000/1,000Mbps R2,297 R2,299

Now read: If you can’t beat them, buy them

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Telkom vs Afrihost — The battle for cheapest fibre packages in South Africa