Webafrica introduces R999 cancellation fee — but promises cheapest fibre prices

Webafrica says a new one-size-fits-all R999 cancellation fee for its fibre-to-the-home (FTTH) packages is justified in light of recent price adjustments across South Africa’s major fibre networks.

A WebAfrica customer recently contacted MyBroadband after he noticed the fee when trying to downgrade his line speed from 200Mbps to 100Mbps.

He had been automatically upgraded to the higher speed by his fibre network operator (FNO) — Octotel — after it made package changes.

“The problem now is that none of my devices can receive more than 100Mbps due to the network ports being rated for 100Mbps, which is still pretty standard, not just in my household,” the customer explained.

“I wanted to downgrade back to 100/100Mbps because there is no point having a 200Mbps line if nothing can utilise it.”

Webafrica allowed him to downgrade back to his old speed and pay less per month without immediately paying any penalty fee.

That approach differs from some other ISPs, which immediately pass on specific FNOs’ downgrade penalties.

However, before the customer could proceed with the downgrade, he had to tick off a box which said if he chose to downgrade or upgrade, he accepted he would have to pay a R999 cancellation fee in the future, should he terminate his package with Webafrica.

Webafrica told MyBroadband that its cancellation fee was necessary to compensate for recent price reductions on its packages.

“In light of the increasing financial difficulties that consumers face, Webafrica decided to launch a brand-new product portfolio with market-leading price points across all FNOs,” the company said.

“With the introduction of our aggressively priced portfolio, which is clearly cutting deep into our margins, we’ve introduced a cancellation processing fee.”

It explained the fee replaced the following costs:

  • Administrative costs of processing a cancellation with the FNO, which typically required human intervention and a notice period set by the FNO
  • All installation and connection fee clawbacks previously applied if a customer cancelled within a short period of taking up the package.
  • Costs related to reverse logistics for free-to-use router collection when a customer cancels. Customers don’t have to pay the courier collection fee.
  • FNO-determined upgrade or downgrade fees, which range from R100 to R750, excluding VAT.

Webafrica told MyBraodband that the fee is only charged when the customer cancels, not when they move or switch to another FNO and keep Webafrica as their ISP.

The amount of R999 was informed by the fact that Webafrica had a cancellation rate of less than 1%.

“It is in the majority of our customer base’s interest that we proportion these cancellation costs to the minority that choose to cancel instead of trying to recoup it from every customer,” Webafrica said.

Webafrica said its approach of not penalising a downgrade would help make up for the cancellation fee in the case of the customer who first brought it to MyBroadband’s attention.

“They will save a substantial amount on their monthly subscription charge by simply ‘downgrading’ to our new 100Mbps package,” the ISP said.

“All we require from existing customers is to agree to the same terms and conditions that new customers agree to.”

With the 100/100Mbps package costing R110 less per month than the 200/200Mbps package, the cancellation fee would be almost completely accounted for within nine months of savings.

Webafrica prices shoot the lights out

Webafrica also told MyBroadband that comparing FTTH prices across major FNOs would show that its new prices were the best in the market by a significant margin.

We put this claim to the test and compared Webafrica’s prices with those of major ISPs like Afrihost, Cool Ideas, and Mweb.

Out of 35 packages across Frogfoot, MetroFibre, Octotel, Openserve, and Vumatel, Webafrica was the cheapest in 34 cases.

Our findings are summarised in the table below.

FTTH price comparison
Package download/upload speeds Afrihost Mweb Cool Ideas Webafrica
Frogfoot
40/10Mbps R557 R615 R549
40/40Mbps R657 R686 R749 R629
80/20Mbps R757 R709 R619
80/80Mbps R857 R819 R849 R699
150/30Mbps R857 R859 R729
150/150Mbps R957 R959 R949 R819
250/50Mbps R989 R849
250/250Mbps R1,077 R1,099 R1,199 R929
500/100Mbps R1,229 R979
1,000/1,000Mbps R1,577 R1,289 R1,699 R1,219
MetroFibre
20/20Mbps R497 R489 R489 R439
50/50Mbps R697 R695 R699 R669
100/100Mbps R897 R829 R899 R769
400/400Mbps R997 R995 R1,099 R849
500/500Mbps R1,197 R1,199 R1,199 R969
1,000/250Mbps R1,297 R1,699 R1,299 R1,099
Octotel
25/25Mbps R527 R499 R499
50/50Mbps R727 R749 R796 R669
100/100Mbps R827 R959 R933 R789
200/200Mbps R997 R1,149 R1,133 R899
400/200Mbps R1,197 R1,469 R949
1,000/100Mbps R1,447 R1,449 R1,784 (+100Mbps upload) R1,179
Openserve
40/20Mbps R547 R559 R639 R549
40/40Mbps R647 R659 R692 R609
75/50Mbps R747 R759 R850 R679
75/75Mbps R877 R829 R944 R739
150/75Mbps R997 R899 R1,049 R849
150/150Mbps R1,047 R1,029 R1,143 R909
300/150Mbps R1,217 R1,099 R1,322 R969
500/250Mbps R1,397 R1,339 R1,459 R1,099
Vumatel
50/50Mbps R727 R689 R699 R639
100/100Mbps R927 R895 R899 R799
200/200Mbps R1,047 R999 R1,099 R899
500/200Mbps R1,197 R1,149 R1,149 R999
1,000/200Mbps R1,497 (+50Mbps upload) R1,479 R1,499 (+50Mbps upload) R1,099

Now read: South Africa’s fibre war

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Webafrica introduces R999 cancellation fee — but promises cheapest fibre prices