Openserve destroyed in South Africa’s 2023 fibre price war

Recent changes in South African fibre network operator (FNO) speeds and pricing have made Openserve the most expensive home fibre provider for nearly all line speed categories.

This represents a radical shift from the past two years.

Openserve’s speed upgrades and price cuts in 2021 made it the cheapest provider and set the tone for a sequence of fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) package overhauls from its rivals in the following months.

It continued to compete well on price for a long time, particularly with its affordable entry-level 25Mbps package.

But with the most recent adjustments, Openserve has fallen behind other major FNOs like Vumatel, Frogfoot, MetroFibre, and Octotel across most package tiers.

MetroFibre recently radically reduced prices on its 500Mbps and 1Gbps packages and scrapped the 200Mbps package, replacing it with a 400Mbps one at no extra charge.

On the downside, it increased the wholesale price of its 50Mbps and is expected to bump up the cost of its 100Mbps later this year.

However, further price changes are on the cards at Metrofibre, alongside other revamps due to be announced in March 2023.

Frogfoot and Octotel also increased speeds on most of their FTTH products. Although this triggered some price increases, there were also improvements in the price-per-megabit of packages.

Openserve’s speed increases were relatively conservative compared to its competitors.

Price per Mbps comparison

We compared the latest available prices from these FNOs on one of the country’s biggest fibre ISPs — Afrihost.

With the latest package restructuring, it has become more difficult to directly compare the prices of packages between FNOs.

Each FNO offers a different combination of package speeds, and some have opted for some rather peculiar configurations rather than the conventional 50Mbps, 100Mbps, 200Mbps, and 500Mbps options.

For example, while Frogfoot still sells 500Mbps and 1Gbps packages — it now offers 75Mbps, 150Mbps, and 250Mbps line speeds.

Similarly, Openserve sells packages with download speeds of 150Mbps and 300Mbps, which aren’t typical speed configurations either.

For this reason, we calculated the price per megabit per second within speed categories for a more useful comparison.

On that basis, Openserve was the most expensive option in six of the seven segments where it had competition.

The cheapest options for each category varied between the remaining FNOs.

The tables below compare the prices of Afrihost’s symmetric and asymmetric FTTH packages on the networks of Frogfoot, MetroFibre, Octotel, Openserve, and Vumatel.

The most cost effective packages are marked in green, and the lest cost effective in red.

Afrihost FTTH  prices — symmetric
Fibre network operator Download speed Upload speed Price Price per Mbps
40–50Mbps
Frogfoot 40 Mbps 40 Mbps R627 R15.68
MetroFibre 50 Mbps 50 Mbps R797 R15.94
Octotel 50 Mbps 50 Mbps R727 R14.54
Openserve 40 Mbps 40 Mbps R647 R16.18
Vumatel 50 Mbps 50 Mbps R727 R14.54
75Mbps–100Mbps
Frogfoot 80 Mbps 80 Mbps R827 R10.34
MetroFibre 100 Mbps 100 Mbps R897 R8.97
Octotel 100 Mbps 100 Mbps R827 R8.27
Openserve 75 Mbps 75 Mbps R877 R11.69
Vumatel 100 Mbps 100 Mbps R927 R9.27
150Mbps–200Mbps
Frogfoot 150 Mbps 150 Mbps R927 R6.18
Octotel 200 Mbps 200 Mbps R997 R4.99
Openserve 150 Mbps 150 Mbps R1,047 R6.98
Vumatel 200 Mbps 200 Mbps R1,047 R5.24
250Mbps–400Mbps
Frogfoot 250 Mbps 250 Mbps R1,047 R4.19
MetroFibre 400 Mbps 400 Mbps R997 R2.49
500Mbps
Frogfoot 500 Mbps 500 Mbps R1,347 R2.69
MetroFibre 500 Mbps 500 Mbps R1,197 R2.39
1Gbps
Frogfoot 1,000 Mbps 1,000 Mbps R1,547 R1.55
Afrihost fibre-to-the-home prices — asymmetric
Fibre network operator Download speed Upload speed Price Price per Mbps
40–50Mbps
Frogfoot 40 Mbps 10 Mbps R527 R13.18
Openserve 40 Mbps 20 Mbps R547 R13.68
75Mbps–100Mbps
Frogfoot 80 Mbps 20 Mbps R727 R9.09
Openserve 75 Mbps 50 Mbps R747 R9.96
150Mbps–200Mbps
Frogfoot 150 Mbps 30 Mbps R827 R5.51
Openserve 150 Mbps 75 Mbps R997 R6.65
250Mbps–400Mbps
Openserve 300 Mbps 150 Mbps R1,217 R4.06
400Mbps–500Mbps
Octotel 400 Mbps 200 Mbps R1,197 R2.99
Openserve 500 Mbps 250 Mbps R1,397 R2.79
Vumatel 500 Mbps 200 Mbps R1,197 R2.39
1Gbps
MetroFibre 1,000 Mbps 250 Mbps R1,297 R1.30
Octotel 1,000 Mbps 100 Mbps R1,447 R1.45
Vumatel 1,000 Mbps 250 Mbps R1,497 R1.50

Now read: MetroFibre’s strange fibre price changes — big announcements coming soon

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Openserve destroyed in South Africa’s 2023 fibre price war