VDSL versus FTTH versus LTE-A: which is the best price for superfast broadband in SA?

If we had to nail down one thing that’s really changed in South African tech in 2014, it’s the fact that proper superfast broadband is finally becoming available in South Africa. The catalyst was the decision by a Joburg suburb to go it alone and organise residents to buy in fibre to the home (FTTH) rather than wait for a network to get round to it, but we’ve also seen VDSL and FTTH from Telkom as well as Category 4 LTE-Advanced for the home too.

While all of the sounds good and well there are of course two main things to consider when choosing which super fast broadband connection is for you.

The first is availability. With FTTH and LTE-A roll outs both in their infancy it should be a while before there is sufficiently adequate coverage to justify it as an option for the masses. VDSL has a larger existing footprint but is likely to become outdated over time as its competitors gain more coverage.

The second is of course price. More speed and larger data bundles equals more money.

To make things easier we’ve lashed together a quick comparison of what you get from VDSL, FTTH and LTE-A with prices and data caps to give you an idea about what you’re going to get for your money.

Telkom has exclusivity on LTE-A and VDSL line rental but other ISPs have a chance to offer their data on VDSL lines. Similarly there are other ISPs in the FTTH space, like Vox and Cool Ideas, although the packages are limited to Parkhurst for the time being.

For our money Vox Telecom’s 100Mbps package in Parkhurst is the pick of the litter and makes us a bit jealous of the residents who have access to it’s high-speed, high data-capped goodness.

Telkom has promised to have 50 suburbs connected to LTE-A before the end of April 2015 and anther 20 suburbs are getting FTTH from the fixed line incumbent making 70 or so suburbs with access to super fast broadband before the end of next year.


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