Research by Analytico revealed that Herotel, Cool Ideas, and Afrihost are the top Internet service providers (ISPs) for price, network quality, and support, respectively. Analytico is a research company focusing on South Africa’s telecommunications and IT sectors. It provides market research, network intelligence, and marketing insights to help companies make accurate and informed decisions. Its latest research focused on the broadband and ISP market, which forms a prominent part of the South African telecommunications sector.
According to industry regulator Icasa’s 2022 State of the ICT Sector Report, fixed Internet and data revenue are currently at R23 billion, while revenue from mobile data services exceeds R53 billion. Internet services, therefore, make up a sizeable chunk of total telecommunications revenue of R200 billion in South Africa. Many companies are fighting for market share in this segment, including over 200 South African Internet Service Providers’ Association members.
To gain market share, an ISP must outperform its competitors in areas where it matters to consumers. Analytico’s research showed that consumers judge ISPs on three main components — price (value for money), network quality, and support & billing.
The research showed that consumers are very aware of their ISP’s successes and failures in these three areas. Price used to be the determining factor for success in the South African fixed-broadband market. However, with rapid price decreases over the last decade, network quality and customer support have become more important. Cool Ideas, for example, is not the cheapest Internet service provider for fibre access. However, it has shown rapid growth thanks to its excellent network and customer support.
Analytico’s rankings for price, network quality, and support & billing provide ISPs with valuable information on what they do well and where they should improve. For example, Herotel’s customers are happy with the ISP’s value for money, but they think the support and billing need work. Rain, in turn, has good pricing, but network quality is a big concern for its subscribers.
The complaints regarding network quality are partly a legacy issue related to Rain’s 4G network, which it is addressing by moving customers to its 5G network. The research reveals that Herotel tops the rankings for value-for-money thanks to its aggressively priced fibre products. Cool Ideas tops the network quality rankings, and Afrihost has the best support and billing. It is noteworthy that Afrihost performed well in all three departments, which is why it has such a loyal customer base.
The chart below shows the rankings for value for money, network quality, and support & billing.