The best options for South Africans without fibre

Fibre is often the best choice for South Africans when it comes to home broadband, but it is not available everywhere.

Areas without fibre coverage have to settle for less reliable and relatively expensive connectivity options such as ADSL or fixed-LTE.

Recent developments have led to these alternatives becoming significantly more attractive, however, with the launch of “naked ADSL” and fixed-5G products offering great value.

After Openserve’s launch of Pure Connect, a wholesale DSL product which excludes the cost of a copper line from Telkom Retail, many ISPs were able to offer uncapped DSL products that were significantly cheaper.

Vodacom and Rain now also offer fixed-5G products with high download speeds and an expanding coverage area.

Fixed-LTE is also becoming less expensive over time, and the coverage of fixed-LTE networks is far greater than that of 5G.

Another option for users without fibre is to sign up for a Wireless Internet service provider (WISP), which offer their own wireless connectivity solutions in specific areas.

Users can find a WISP with coverage in their area via a sign-up page on the Wireless Access Providers’ Association (WAPA) website.

We have detailed the major available broadband alternatives to fibre in South Africa, comparing the prices and capabilities of DSL, fixed-LTE, and 5G solutions.

Fixed-LTE, 5G, and DSL

5G, fixed-LTE, and DSL each have their own strengths and weaknesses, and the best option for you will depend on how you use your connection.

If you are lucky enough to be within a 5G coverage area, you will be able to sign up for a high-speed wireless broadband solution, although your data usage may be capped depending on your provider.

Rain offers uncapped data on both its Unlimited Home 5G Standard and Premium products. The Standard product is limited to 30Mbps and high-definition (720p) video streaming, while the Premium product offers up to 200Mbps and unlimited streaming resolution.

Vodacom’s 5G products are all capped and are only available on 24- or 36-month contracts.

DSL coverage is widespread in South Africa, but buyers should note that if they are in an area covered by Openserve fibre they will need to sign up for fibre instead, as DSL in these areas is being discontinued.

Copper infrastructure is also prone to theft and outages, which means you may see more service interruptions depending on the state of the infrastructure in your area.

Fixed-LTE is available in many areas across South Africa and is offered through a number ISPs by MTN and Telkom.

Rain offers its own uncapped 4G product, as well as pay-as-you-use services which are priced at R50 per GB.

Product comparison

We compared the price, data allocations, and connection speeds of the major fibre alternatives in South Africa below.

ADSL / VDSL
ISPNetworkDataDownload SpeedUpload SpeedPrice per month
TelkomOpenserveUncapped4Mbps512KbpsR329
VoxOpenserveUncapped4Mbps512KbpsR375
AxxessOpenserveUncapped4Mbps512KbpsR395
AfrihostOpenserveUncapped4Mbps512KbpsR447
RSAWEBOpenserveUncapped4Mbps512KbpsR494
VoxOpenserveUncapped10Mbps1MbpsR575
AxxessOpenserveUncapped10Mbps1MbpsR595
TelkomOpenserveUncapped10Mbps1MbpsR599
AfrihostOpenserveUncapped10Mbps1MbpsR697
RSAWEBOpenserveUncapped10Mbps1MbpsR724
VoxOpenserveUncapped20Mbps1.5MbpsR675
TelkomOpenserveUncapped20Mbps1.5MbpsR699
AxxessOpenserveUncapped20Mbps1.5MbpsR745
AfrihostOpenserveUncapped20Mbps1.5MbpsR797
RSAWEBOpenserveUncapped20Mbps1.5MbpsR1,054
VoxOpenserveUncapped40Mbps10MbpsR875
TelkomOpenserveUncapped40Mbps10MbpsR899
AxxessOpenserveUncapped40Mbps10MbpsR945
AfrihostOpenserveUncapped40Mbps10MbpsR997
RSAWEBOpenserveUncapped40Mbps10MbpsR1,534
Fixed-LTE / Home 4G (SIM-Only)
ISPNetworkDataDownload SpeedUpload SpeedPrice per month
AfrihostMTN30GB + 30GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR199
TelkomTelkom20GB + 20GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR199
AxxessTelkom30GB + 30GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR199
RSAWEBMTN25GB + 25GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR195
SupersonicMTN30GB + 30GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR249
VoxTelkom20GB + 20GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR199
AfrihostMTN60GB + 60GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR349
TelkomTelkom60GB + 60GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR399
AxxessTelkom70GB + 70GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR399
RSAWEBMTN50GB + 50GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR345
SupersonicMTN60GB + 60GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR399
VoxTelkom40GB + 40GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR299
AfrihostMTN150GB + 150GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR749
TelkomTelkom120GB + 120GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR699
AxxessTelkom120GB + 120GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR699
RSAWEBMTN100GB + 100GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR545
SupersonicMTN150GB + 150GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR799
VoxTelkom120GB + 120GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR699
AfrihostMTN200GB + 200GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR949
TelkomTelkom220GB + 220GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR999
AxxessTelkom220GB + 220GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR999
RSAWEBMTN250GB + 250GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR1,495
SupersonicMTN200GB + 200GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR999
VoxTelkom220GB + 220GB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR999
TelkomTelkom1TB10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR999
RainRainUncapped10Mbps10MbpsR479
AfrihostMTNUncapped10-150Mbps10-150MbpsR2,949
5G (Router included)
ISPNetworkDataDownload SpeedUpload SpeedPrice per month
VodacomVodacom100GB + 100GB150-200Mbps15MbpsR1,199 x 24
VodacomVodacom200GB + 200GB150-200Mbps15MbpsR1,499 x 24
VodacomVodacom300GB + 300GB150-200Mbps15MbpsR1,599 x 24
VodacomVodacom400GB + 400GB150-200Mbps15MbpsR1,799 x 24
RainRainUncapped30Mbps30MbpsR699
RainRainUncapped200Mbps+50Mbps+R999

Source: MyBroadband

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