We tested ISPs’ WhatsApp support — with interesting results

MyBroadband tests revealed that Afrihost, Axxess, and Webafrica offer the best WhatsApp support among prominent fibre Internet service providers (ISPs).

WhatsApp is the preferred support channel for many South Africans thanks to its convenience and the pervasiveness of the service.

To see whether ISPs make the most of this valuable support channel, MyBroadband tested the response times to a WhatsApp support question.

For this test, we compared ten of South Africa’s most prominent Internet service providers which offer WhatsApp support.

We asked each service provider a simple question: Will our fibre service still provide connectivity during load-shedding?

Out of the ten service providers, only six were able to provide an answer to this question.

The other four could not respond because they used bot services that only provide information about predefined topics.

Many of the ISPs who responded also had chatbots, but we were transferred to a support agent when it was needed.

Axxess and RSAWeb were the only ISPs that did not use chatbots to start with and where we immediately interacted with a human.

Afrihost had immediate generic responses, but a human then answered our question after around two minutes.

Webafrica and Home Connect also employed bots, but we were given a choice to speak to an agent.

The agent from Webafrica took 4 minutes to respond, while the agent from Home-Connect took 15 minutes.

Level-7 also had an immediate bot response, and after requesting support and asking the question, we waited 52 minutes for an answer.

Supersonic, Vodacom, MTN, and Telkom all only had bots on the WhatsApp line, with predefined menus through which you can access features.

The Vodacom Tobi bot tried to understand our question, but regardless of how much we simplified it, the bot could still not answer.

It should be noted that Vodacom and MTN gave the option of having an agent call us for support.

WhatsApp support test summary

The table below provides an overview of the results of MyBroadband’s WhatsApp support test.

ISP WhatsApp Support test
ISP Wait time (minutes) Response
Afrihost 2 “it all depends on the fibre provider, I can not say which areas have back up for the infrastructure and which don’t”
Axxess 4 “No they don’t because fibre runs of power, but if you have a UPS and the is no power issues at the fibre exchange then the connection stays online during load-shedding.”
Webafrica 4 “yes depending on if that specific exchange has UPS (that’s managed by the Fibre Network Operator) we can’t really confirm”
Home-Connect 15 “kindly note fibre does not remain on during load shedding, you would need to look into alternative devices”
RSAweb 37 “Please note that the line goes down when there is load shedding except if you have a fully charged UPS that will give out power during the load shedding”
Level-7 52 “It will depend if the FNO has backup power and how long the batteries last. During a prolonged power outage, the network sites/nodes might drop. There we cannot guarantee any uptime at this stage.”
MTN Immediate Bot only
Supersonic Immediate Bot only
Telkom Immediate Bot only
Vodacom Immediate Bot only

Now read: Sharing these WhatsApp messages could land you in serious legal problems in South Africa

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We tested ISPs’ WhatsApp support — with interesting results