Vumatel will at least double the line speeds for most of its fibre customers until at least the end of January next year on a promotional basis.
The move by South Africa’s largest fibre network operator comes as competition in the space intensifies.
As a result of the changes, many Internet service providers will – or already have – started bumping up their end customers’ line speeds. In most cases, line speeds are at least doubling. The changes are:
- 20/10Mbit/s (up and down) speeds are increased to 50/50Mbit/s
- 50/50Mbit/s speeds go to 100/100Mbit/s
- 100/100Mbit/s speeds go to 200/200Mbit/s
- 200/200Mbit/s speeds jump to 500/200Mbit/s
- 1 000/200Mbit/s speeds are amended to 1 000/250Mbit/s
While Vumatel emphasised in response to questions from TechCentral that ISPs set the prices to end users, it appears most if not all service providers are passing on the benefits to customers at no additional cost. All ISP end customers on the Vumatel fibre network will benefit from the upgrades, the company said.
“Vuma’s promotion is offered to its entire ISP end-user base, where end service will be moved to the next-fastest speed,” Vumatel said. It added that it decided to increase the line speeds as a result of “market evaluation” and after “consulting with several ISPs”.
Vumatel had initially planned for the promotion to end on 31 August, but it has now extended this to 31 January 2023. The company didn’t respond to a question about whether the speed upgrades will become permanent. However, given the intensity of the competition between fibre network operators in South Africa, consumers may be in luck.
Earlier this month, Frogfoot Networks, part of Vivica Group (formerly Vox), announced a promotion where participating ISPs could offer discounted rates on four line speeds — a move that saw end customers being able to get 1Gbit/s connections for less than R1 000/month.
“Initially, the promotional offering is being made available to consumers in Despatch, Caledon, Idasvallei, Oudtshoorn, Swellendam and Tzaneen, and is available on four symmetrical line speeds, namely the 50Mbit/s, 100Mbit/s, 200Mbit/s and 1Gbit/s plans. Participating ISPs on the Frogfoot network in these selected areas will be able to pass on the reduced prices to their customers, who in turn stand to benefit from more affordable yet faster Internet connections,” Frogfoot said.
“Ultimately, the intention is to see consumers being able to subscribe to a 50Mbit/s line at well below the R500 mark,” it said. The promotion ends on 31 August.
10Gbit/s home fibre
Meanwhile, Vumatel told TechCentral that it is continuing to trial a 10Gbit/s home fibre offering. However, no decision has been taken yet on when – or even whether – to roll it out commercially.
Vumatel CEO Dietlof Mare – who was recently appointed to head Vumatel’s new parent company, the Remgro-controlled FibreCo – told TechCentral in March 2021 that the offering, if it is launched, will target a niche subset of its customer base. At the time, it was trialling the solution with Cool Ideas, a popular fibre ISP.
To take advantage of the service if and when it is launched, consumers will need a router, optical network terminal (from Vumatel) and a computer capable of supporting 10Gbit/s. They’ll also need to wire their homes with 10Gbit/s Ethernet as Wi-Fi hotspots – even ones utilising the latest 802.11ax standard, also known as Wi-Fi 6 – are not capable of delivering such high speeds.
“Vuma’s 10Gbit/s fibre-to-the-home service is still its trial stage. There are multiple considerations for a super-speed service like this. However, we continuously evaluate our products, introducing new innovations as they become feasible for the South African marketplace,” Vumatel said on Tuesday in response to TechCentral’s questions. – © 2022 NewsCentral Media