8ta Review 1st month
30 Days with 8ta
And no complaints
The service has been reliable, and fast enough to make the net a pleasure rather than an irritating wait while files download.
There were a few periods of network downtime, although mostly these were in the early hours of the morning, around 00h30, when most users will have been asleep, and on one occasion, several hours during business time, but this affected Vodacom service as well, so was likely a local service tower, or network issue common to several operators. (The past 60 days has seen more than its usual share of internet network issues, with several hosting service providers also experiencing un-scheduled downtime – software upgrades, security upgrades, virus attacks? I’ve been too busy with other things to do the research – perhaps someone knows!)
Speed is good:
(Remember this is more often than not limited by the connection speed of the serving machine, not the service connectivity speed). Downloads up to 10.2 Mbps and surprisingly, UPLOADS of up to 3.2 Mbps which was totally unexpected.
Comparing to the Vodacom 3G service I used for some 4 years: With Voda – Best download speed EVER; 3.2 Mbps but more regularly less than 2Gbps even from known FAST servers. Best upload speed in 4 years of use; 750kbps, more usually 250kbps (all numbers rounded off)
During these first 30 days, 7.2 GB of data was used, with 5.8 GB incoming, and 1.4 GB outgoing. There was definitley no ‘shaping’. At least 3 GB of the incoming was file download (graphics, software, files) and 1.2 GB upload of files, images and so on.
For much of the month, I was working online for most of each day, up to 18 hours in a given 24. The connection was mostly left active, even when idling, or away from workstation, and mostly held its connection active. More so than the Vodacom service, which from personal experience will nearly always terminate the connection if left idling.
There is still no competitive offer. Although the other players in the industry have made some adjustments to their price structure, 8ta’s service is WAY cheaper than any other. Vodacom’s attempt to make their packages more attractive is ludicrous; 10GB of data from Voda now costs R1600.00, granted this is 40% down from a month ago, and their offer of ‘free’ data to use from 00h00 to 05h00 (or whenever) is just about useless to 99% of their customers. MTN and Cell C have also downwardly adjusted their prices, but nowhere near enough.
We must remember that this 8ta deal is a PROMOTION, and I have no idea what prices will be once the promotion expires.
Until real fixed line connectivity reaches comparable speeds;
(Speed over copper remains slow (less than 1Gbps) for MOST local subscribers, with a few high-end options up to 8Gps (or 10) for those lucky customers with short wired connections to ‘exchanges’ – mostly corporate clients, and who can afford the cost, and until fibre connections are available to the general population – in 10 years time IF we are very lucky), 3G must remain perhaps the most cost-effective and practical option for decent internet speed. Certainly, it has its demerits; more network downtime than hard-wired connections, local ‘tower’ overcapacity issues, and the inconvenience of ‘connect when needed’
One particular issue is being experienced with the modem software. This is the Huawei software provided with the modem, not 8ta software. On first modem start-up and connection, the application has a tendency to ‘freeze’. It shows it is connected, but other apps, e.g. browsers and mail clients cannot connect to the net. A manual disconnection just leaves the modem reporting it is disconnecting, and cannot be closed without using Task Manager to force a close. After which the modem needs to be removed from the USB port, then re-installed. Then everything works fine for rest of the day! This issue is sporadic, and is not an ‘everyday’ occurence, but often enough to be annoying. (At some time in the future, I will see if this also occurs on a ‘clean install’.
This may be a purely local issue on the PC in use (Windows XP SP3), or a conflict with one of the numerous applications installed and running, possibly the antivirus/firewall. A virus was suspected as a possible reason, but a full and time-consuming scan with AVG, followed by House Call revealed nothing untoward. Interestingly; a similar problem exists with the Vodacom modem, (also Huawei) which requires a system re-boot to clear.
I would like to hear from anyone using the 8ta service (or any other for that matter), with a Huawei E1820 Modem, if they have experienced similar, or any other, problems.
This brings to an end the current series of articles on 8ta 3G service. A later review (6 months) will in all likelihood be posted at that time. So, until then, get connected, get connected cheaply, get connected fast, get 8ta 3G.
Every switch over from other overpriced services demands the attention of these other service providers. If enough customers make the change to cheap, fast connectivity, these profiteering conglomerates will be forced to have a real llok at their pricing structure, not just a superficial revision which is in reality no more than a slap in the face to their loyal clients.
June 2012 Update:
All is not well with the 8ta 3G service – there are ongoing problems. Anyone considering a switch to 8ta 3G, please read the related articles below, especially the latest test reults…
Posted on August 7, 2011, in 3G, Product Review and tagged 3G, 8ta, Cell C, Data rate units, data shaping, Internet Connection, MTN Group, South Africa, Telecommunications, Vodacom. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.