Vox Telecom will offer low-cost satellite broadband nationwide from late next year, in the process taking on the country’s established telecommunications operators more directly than it has in the past. The service will cost as little as R225/month, the company says.
Vox will offer the service in partnership with Dubai-based satellite specialist, the Al Yah Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), which is owned by Mubadala, an investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government.
Vox Telecom MD Doug Reed says he expects to sign up as many as 100 000 subscribers to the service, which will offer speeds of between 256kbit/s (at the entry level) and 10Mbit/s (for high-end subscribers).
Pricing at the entry level will probably start at about $32 (R225), going up to about $60 (R425) — and possibly more — at the top end.
The product will be pitched to consumers as a backup service to existing broadband networks in urban areas and as a primary Internet connection for people in remote areas, or those in areas where copper theft is prevalent.
Entry-level offerings will be shaped for certain online applications and bandwidth caps will apply. Higher-end offerings will attract less shaping and offer more bandwidth.
Yahsat uses the Ka Band — as opposed to the more common Ku Band — which, Reed says, makes it cheaper to operate. Also, consumers don’t need big satellite dishes to use the service, he says.
Reed says Vox Telecom is in discussions with the department of education about providing the service to schools.
Vox wants to launch the service by December 2011. — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral