Connectivity: ADSL or 3G

Which do you choose?ADSL or 3G graphic text

Before going out and purchasing a connectivity package, consider some of the pros and cons surrounding the use of each of these mainstream internet connections. A mistake can be costly, especially if entering into a contract which may lock you in for a 24 month period, and it turns out you needed something different.

In this discussion, we will consider the following set of criteria which should be considered in choosing a connectivity package;
Place of Use: Fixed, Mobile, Both (assuming ones budget must accommodate both types of use.)
Data Bandwidth: The internet ‘speed’ required and provided.
Data Usage: The amount of data used on a monthly basis.
Initial Cost of Service: The basic cost to take on and use either option.

Place of Use
 Fixed Tick Mark Image Orange Tick Mark Image
 Mobile Red X Mark Image  Tick Mark Image
 Fixed and Mobile Red X Mark Image  Tick Mark Image
Data Bandwidth Required (Speed)
less than 512kb/s Tick Mark Image Tick Mark Image
512kb/s to 1Gb/s Tick Mark Image Tick Mark Image
More than 1Gb/s Orange Tick Mark Image Orange Tick Mark Image

Setup Cost: Based on initially purchasing the equipment required to connect. Many users may choose to sign up for a monthly contract where the modem or router is include. However, remember one gets nothing for nothing, and the purchase price is built into the contract, with interest on purchase included.
Consider as well the undeniable fact that in many cases with ADSL at least, the equipment supplied may well be of dubious, if not poor, quality.

We have based our equipment cost on ADSL routers from the Netgear range (the only brand on the consumer market in SA we are willing to recommend or supply to our customers), and on the Huawei range of 3G modems.

Service provision is based on the physical Landline being supplied by the only line provider at this point in time, Telkom, and ADSL service by a private enterprise ISP, Afrihost. 3G service costs based on Vodacom rates. (In the SA marketplace, rates are relatively equivalent throughout the industry, for similar product or services, so these quoted costs can be expected no matter the ISP).

Initial (Setup) Cost of Service
Initial Purchase (Modem/Router) R1100 R1600
Installation (Landline +)  R1118 0
Waiting Period up to 3 months immediate
 TOTAL SETUP COST  up to R2218  R1600

Monthly cost: We examine the cost of using the internet based on total data usage of 1GB /m, 3GB /m and 10GB /m

Monthly Costs Based on 1GB/m Usage
Line Rental /m R152  0
Service Provision /m R197  0
Usage Cost /m  0  R285
 Total Cost /m
(* ADSL Service 1 GB /m Capped Unshaped on a 384 kb /s connection)
Monthly Costs Based on 3GB/m Usage
Line Rental /m R326 0
Service Provision /m R297 0
Usage Cost /m  0 R470
Total Cost /m R623 R470
(* ADSL Service 3GB /m Capped Unshaped on a 512 kb/s connection)
Monthly Costs Based on 10GB/m Usage
Line Rental /m R413 0
Service Provision /m R190 0
Usage Cost /m  0 R1900
Total Cost /m R603 R1900
(* ADSL Service 10GB /m Capped Unshaped on a 1024 kb/s connection)

Clearly, up to a point 3G is more cost-effective than ADSL, especially if higher data speeds, and bulk downloading are considered essential. The breakeven point comes at around the 3 to 4GB /m usage level, thereafter ADSL at the best available connection speed becomes progressively cheaper.

Consider these costs to be representative, and not a firm quotation for any services described in this white paper. Also note that there are other packages and levels of service available.

Further, we must point out that the installation fee is for a NEWLY INSTALLED Service and includes the telephone line needed, and an ADSL technician calling at your premises to complete the installation. Should the user be prepared and able to undertake a self-installation, then the initial fee will be cheaper by R627.00.

We have deliberately not considered the fact of a landline telephone service forming part of the line package; simply because the author of this paper has no use whatsoever for a home voice-telephony service, and does not include this a possible benefit.

Another consideration is the maintenance costs of a landline. Every time a landline technician is called out to service your ADSL line, a fee is charged. From personal (even as a technical person), and from users experience this will be an event which will occur at all too frequent intervals. At least with a pocket-sized or smaller 3G modem, it can be taken into your service providers help centre (usually based in a convenient shopping mall) to be tested.

By: Mike Otgaar

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