A price war among smaller Internet service providers is gathering momentum, driven in part by the arrival of the Seacom undersea cable system.
Within days of one another, service providers DigiChilli and Screamer Telecommunications have slashed the price of fixed-line bandwidth for consumers using Telkom’s asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL) network.
Both companies are taking advantage of reduced prices for international bandwidth on the recently commissioned Seacom submarine cable along Africa’s east coast to offer uncapped ADSL access.
Screamer, which has previously attracted controversy over its apparent use of WiMax spectrum allocated to state-owned broadcasting signal distributor Sentech, has introduced an unlimited broadband offering for R399/month. That excludes Telkom line costs and is limited to a 384Kbit/s line.
The company is offering unlimited access on 512Kbit/s and 1Mbit/s lines for R799/month and R1 499/month respectively. A 4Mbit/s service costs R2 499. Again, all these prices exclude line rental fees.
Screamer CEO Gavin Hart says the service offers redundancy and isn’t reliant on Seacom bandwidth alone. The company has blended Seacom bandwidth with two upstream broadband suppliers’ fibre bandwidth, he says.
DigiChilli, a new service provider, has meanwhile introduced an uncapped 256Kbit/s solution for R500/month. Users wanting higher access speeds pay R1 000 for an unlimited 512Kbit/s connection or R3 000 for a 1Mbit/s line. DigiChilli does not yet have a solution for 4Mbit/s users.
The reduced rates from Screamer and DigiChilli follow the decision by Afrihost in September to reduce ADSL bandwidth prices to R29/GB.
Afrihost admits it is selling the bandwidth at a loss. Instead of using its marketing budget for advertising, it decided to provide subsidised bandwidth instead. The Afrihost offer is time limited — the offer will expire when the company’s marketing budget is depleted. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral
- Image credit: Declan Jewell