Impressive performance by South Africa’s top ISP

Cool Ideas continues to dominate South Africa’s Internet Service Provider (ISP) rankings with a customer satisfaction score of 88%, significantly higher than its closest competitors.

The Q1 2021 South African broadband and ISP report was released this week which provides insight into the performance of service providers in South Africa.

The data for the report was collected using MyBroadband’s mobile apps and web-based speed test portals.

Over the last three months South Africans performed 636,786 speed tests using MyBroadband’s speed test app and 867,425 tests using the web-based portals.

After a user performs a speed test, they are asked to rate their ISP based on their overall satisfaction with the service.

These customer satisfaction ratings are then processed to produce a customer satisfaction percentage for each ISP. Higher scores indicate a better customer experience.

Cool Ideas, which won the 2020 ISP of the Year Award, continued its strong performance in 2021 with a customer satisfaction score of 88%.

Cool Ideas comfortably outperformed its closest competitors Cybersmart and Afrihost which scored 81.3% and 80.9% respectively.

Cool Ideas
Andre Jooste and Paul Butschi

Paul Butschi and Andre Jooste, who co-founded Cool Ideas, shed light on their journey to the top of the South African ISP rankings.

Cool Ideas was started in 2011 as a hosting company and pivoted into the fibre-to-the-business market using DFA’s network.

When Vumatel rolled out its first fibre-to-the-home network in Parkhurst in 2014, Cool Ideas was perfectly positioned to take advantage of this opportunity.

Cool Ideas became the first ISP on Vumatel’s network and connected the first home in Parkhurst in 2014.

They started to hand out flyers in the area to sign up new subscribers and grow its consumer ISP business. This worked out better than they could have imagined.

Since these humble beginnings Cool Ideas has grown to nearly 50,000 subscribers and over 100 staff members.

Their singular focus on fibre-to-the-home services helped them to maintain good service levels on both network performance and customer support during this growth.

The secret behind Cool Ideas’ success, Jooste said, is their strong belief in customer satisfaction.

“It is pivotal for us to make sure we keep our customers happy, give them the best service, and give them a great Cool Ideas experience,” he said.

Brandon Leigh, New Rain CEO
Rain CEO Brandon Leigh

On the other end of the scale, Rain was the worst rated service provider with a customer satisfaction score of 55%. It was the only large ISP which scored below 60%.

Rain’s low customer satisfaction rating is a result of two factors – poor network performance and lacking client support.

The operator’s median download speed on its fixed-broadband network over the last quarter was 6.4Mbps. This is much lower than what most subscribers expect.

There are also numerous complaints about billing problems, customer support issues, and network downtime.

ARC co-CEO Johan van Zyl recently told investors Rain is well-aware of these problems and that they are actively addressing them.

Van Zyl said Rain is expanding coverage, protecting against load-shedding outages, and employing more support staff to improve customer support.

Rain has also made customer satisfaction a key deliverable for the company’s new management team to encourage improved performance.

The table below provides the customer satisfaction scores and network speeds of prominent South African ISPs.

It should be noted that the download speed, upload speed, and latency should not be seen as a measure of network quality.

These speeds are mostly influenced by technology type and the speed profiles of subscribers, and not network quality.

South African ISP Ranking
ISP Download Speed (Mbps) Upload Speed (Mbps) Latency (ms) Customer Satisfaction Score
Cool Ideas 19.5 16.1 6 87.7%
Cybersmart 17.2 10.5 8 81.3%
Afrihost 18.0 11.7 9 80.9%
RSAWEB 20.1 19.7 6 79.4%
MTN 17.9 12.6 42 77.6%
Vox 15.9 11.5 20 76.2%
Supersonic 17.0 13.8 8 74.1%
Axxess 11.7 10.1 16 73.7%
Webafrica 19.1 10.7 6 73.5%
BitCo 5.7 3.7 35 73.5%
Internet Solutions 4.4 2.9 49 73.0%
MWEB 11.4 8.2 12 70.0%
Vodacom 11.9 9.4 25 67.9%
Cell C 16.1 16.5 23 65.3%
Herotel 5.2 2.4 38 61.9%
Telkom 8.6 3.0 30 61.6%
Rain 6.4 5.9 40 55.4%

Now read: Rain’s biggest problem – network quality

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Impressive performance by South Africa’s top ISP