Vodacom Business Metro E: Pricing and other details

Vodacom Business yesterday launched its Metro-Ethernet Fibre network (Metro E) and services in a high profile event which featured Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton racing against the company’s new fibre access offering.

Vodacom Business said in its press statement that their Metro E service provides companies with speeds from 2 Mbps to 1 Gbps, but Ermano Quartero, Managing Executive at Vodacom Business, pointed out that speeds much faster than 1 Gbps are possible.

According to Quartero a well known parastatal has a link of 2 to 3 Gbps provided by Vodacom Business, but speeds of 10 Gbps and higher are available if needed.

Metro E Pricing

Quartero said that while he feels that their fibre access pricing is competitive and in line with international standards, the major value proposition is not price but rather high service levels.

Quartero added that Vodacom Business is not interested in getting into a price war with anyone, and that lower pricing will merely result in lower service levels – something which deteriorates the main value proposition of their Metro E offering.

The current price for a 2 Mbps Metro-E fibre connection from Vodacom Business is around R7,000 per month, with the price per Mbps decreasing significantly with increased capacity.

Quartero said that while one or two other providers may undercut their pricing, they will not be able to compete against the quality of service and overall value proposition which Vodacom Business brings to their clients.

Fibre network

The new Metro E service is provided over Vodacom Business’ recently completed fibre optic network.  The 11 fibre optic rings cover large areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Midrand, Cape Town, Durban, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein.

Apart from the benefits of providing business clients with fibre access, this network doubles up as a transmission network for Vodacom’s radio network. 

It is well known that transmission capacity – which was traditionally purchased from Telkom – has become a significant constraint in the rollout of broadband services for Vodacom and MTN.  Both companies are therefore investing in their own fibre infrastructure partly to alleviate transmission capacity.

To date Vodacom has switched over 300 towers onto its own fibre network, with plans to increase that number to 1000 by the end of 2010.  Vodacom plans to ultimately have 3000 towers on its own fibre infrastructure. 

For international bandwidth capacity Vodacom Business uses both SAT-3 and SEACOM bandwidth, but Quartero pointed out that their future international bandwidth needs will be served by WACS rather than SAT-3 or SEACOM.

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Vodacom Business Metro E: Pricing and other details