Telkom tops ADSL trials

Johannesburg, 30 Nov 2005

A study of South African broadband services conducted by MyADSL and the Department of Business Information Technology (BIT) at the University of Johannesburg, has found Telkom`s four ADSL offerings to be significantly better than the other services.

Rudolph Muller, MyADSL founder and lecturer at BIT, spearheaded the study, which was carried out over several weeks both at BIT`s new broadband testing laboratory and at the homes and offices of 150 volunteers.

Muller says the study tested Telkom`s ADSL, Sentech`s MyWireless, Vodacom`s 3G, WBS`s iBurst and MTN`s 3G packages.

"Over 50 000 diagnostic tests were performed, gathering data on about 60 different aspects of each service, including cost, reliability, speed and general service levels."

The report found that Telkom`s DSL 384 performed consistently in all departments and emerged as the best service with a score of 76%. Telkom`s other DSL offerings were not far behind.

DSL 192 was second at 75% while DSL 512 and DSL 1024 were tied in third position at 74% each. DSL 1024 produced the best performance in most departments (including speed, VOIP, latency and P2P), but its higher cost dragged it down in the rankings.

Sentech`s MyWireless was rated best among the wireless broadband services with 64%.

However, while it was superior to the other wireless offerings, it was unable to compete favourably with Telkom`s fixed-line ADSL service.

WBS`s iBurst finished sixth with 48%, Vodacom`s 3G seventh with 31% and MTN`s 3G last with 30%.

Muller says he was not surprised that ADSL came up tops, "but I was surprised by the margin by which it won. It was more dominant than in previous reports, most likely due to the introduction of the faster 1024 service and the lowering of prices during 2005."

He says the study looked at "all facets of the costs", including basic monthly costs, 24-month all-inclusive costs, cost-per-gig, setup charges and modem costs.

"In comparison with the other broadband services, Telkom`s DSL192 proved to be the most cost-effective solution, while Telkom`s DSL1024 was the third most expensive option. It therefore depends on which ADSL service you look at."

Muller says Vodacom`s 3G and MTN`s 3G did not compete favourably against the other broadband offerings, mainly due to the exorbitant cost for high bandwidth usage. "At R499 per gigabyte of usage, it is simply too expensive to be used as a primary broadband connection."

Poor reliability was also common among the three lowest rated services.

The full MyADSL broadband report is available on the MyADSL Web site.

Related stories:
Wireless broadband report released
SA broadband put to the test