The majority of households are being inundated with advertisements on new LTE-A ads on TV and radio with rather inviting pricing. On the other line of advertising, we see more ads in magazines, posters and billboards on new fibre developments in our residential areas.
Do we need internet? Of course not. If we want to stay in the dark ages of Satellite TV, SMS and landline phones then we don’t have to be connected to a world of instant information, 4K entertainment and video communication. But some of us who want to evolve need fast internet.
Question is always, where to start regarding broadband. Which is the best for your needs? Getting a Gigabit line installed for emails and Facebook will be overkill… Or staying with the old Telkom ADSL line for 4K video streaming will definitely not suffice – the buffering icon on your screen will burn in your retinas.
Before making the choice which broadband connection to commit to, first, you need to do some research on which connections are available in your area. Note that the internet infrastructure (i.e. OpenServe, Vumatel, Rain) and the internet service provider (i.e. MWEB, Vox, CellC) might not always be the same company. Vox ISP, for instance, is available through a Vumatel line where Telkom is one of few whom provide the infrastructure and the internet service.
- Ask your neighbours or the body-corporate if Fibre is available in the area. Or go to one of the following fibre providers’ coverage:
- Enter your address to do an LTE and an LTE-A coverage search with one of these providers:
Next is to find out what Data Package you’d be needing… Both wireless and fibre internet service providers offer capped and uncapped data usage on their networks. Capped being limited data and uncapped meaning unlimited data usage. Monitor your data by your using your phone as a mobile hotspot. Do whatever you want on the internet while checking how much data you have left after watching a YouTube video or spending 10 minutes on Facebook or Twitter. This way you will also find out whether you have a decent wireless network. But before doing so, purchase a data bundle of 4GB or so from your mobile service provider to avoid pricey out-of-bundle rates. Remember, video streaming could be quite data intensive. An average movie in HD can use over 2GB of data easily. An hour of web and social media browsing with some emails won’t break the internet.
Our recommendations for monthly data usage:
20GB – Emails, web and social media browsing and a little Showmax and YouTube streaming.
40GB – More intensive web and social media browsing and some HD streaming. Sufficient for 2 users.
80GB – Anytime web and social media browsing, 40 hours+ of HD video streaming and some online gaming.
Uncapped – Go mad. Just refer to the service provider’s usage policy.
As important as data usage, if not more, is speed. Having an uncapped data plan with a slow connection is as useless as eating soup with a fork. A fibre connection provides almost always the advertised speed. Unfortunately, a wireless broadband connection has many variables that can compromise its speeds. Like a cellphone’s receiption, the LTE router also needs an optimal place in the house to receive signal, usually in the open and rather elevated. This could take some setting up and re-setting up until the house’s LTE sweetspot has been found. You could do a speedtest online with an LTE enabled phone to help you with this.
Pros & Cons of both
Fibre wins hands down. Unlike LTE, it won’t be affected by the weather, network congestion or the area you are in.
Depending on LTE’s signal, it’s a draw. But we do recommend fibre to users who upload a lot of data.
LTE wins. You can take your router anywhere where there is an LTE signal. The fibre is fixed and must stay at home when you’re gone.
There are dozens of competing service providers for both. But because LTE is more broadly available (for now) than fibre, their prices are cheaper on average. Just be aware of the pricey out of bundle and top up rates.
Some fibre ISPs are still small and could take care of your internet issues a little more intimately than most LTE companies. If you have any experience with LTE or fibre providers, please let us know.