TelOne, Zimbabwe’s sole fixed lined telephone operator, yesterday announced the introduction of an SHDSL service. SHDSL, short for Single-pair High-speed Digital Subscriber Line, is a variant of the DSL technology which, so far, TelOne had only offered via ADSL.
The essential difference between SHDSL and ADSL is the bandwidth capacity allocated to upstream (from the user to TelOne) and downstream (from TelOne to the user) traffic. SHDSL supports the same data transfer rate for sending and receiving data while the ADSL upstream pipeline is much smaller than the downstream. This makes SHDSL suitable for business use as business applications usually have large volumes data traffic travelling both ways. Applications whose performance is significantly improved by SHDSL include video conferencing, VoIP and other business applications like ERPs.
On pricing, the TelOne announcement says the new SHDSL service will use the leased line and DataOne tariffs. This is a bit confusing as the two products mentioned are different and have difference rates themselves. Unless ofcourse what TelOne means is that SHDSL will essentially be a combination of the two; that is it’s a Leased Line with internet access. In which case the tariffs become quite high for the smaller SMEs and the case against their ADSL offering, even with SHDSL’s ‘dedicated’ tag, starts to fall apart.
The lowest capacity leased line package, the dedicated 64Kbps one, costs US $189 a month (2Mbps will set you back $6,052.73) and the DataOne tariffs for a 64Kbps internet link is about $30. This means for the dedicated 64Kbps a company will pay at least $219 a month. In comparison, the ADSL price for a 2MB down and 512Kb up link is just $216 a month.
We also have questions on whether the new SHDSL tariffs will, like the DataOne tariffs on the TelOne website, be based on distance. That is the further away from (presumably) the TelOne exchange you’re connected to, the more you pay monthly for the internet.
We’ve contacted TelOne for clarification and we’ll post the responses here once we get them.