While it seems there are dark clouds hanging above Elon Musk’s much-vaulted satellite service, Starlink, there is a cause to cheer for those using existing VSAT technologies here in Zimbabwe. TelOne has now introduced unlimited night data on its VSAT packages.
Your night time data allocation can be used between the wee hours of 10 PM and 6 AM each night. Free nighttime data will depend on which TelOne VSAT package you are currently on and ranges from 150GB to 300GB. But you said unlimited I hear you say? Yes, nighttime data is unlimited, you can use your specified data allocation at normal speeds but once you exhaust this data allocation you can still connect although your speeds will be reduced until the next billing cycle.
Which packages get which allocation?
Both home and business VSAT users are getting unlimited night data. The data allocation for each package is as follows:
- Konnect Home 25 get 150GB of nightime data
- Konnect Home 50 get 300GB
- Konnect Home 100 get 300GB
- Konnect Business capped customers get 300GB data
According to TelOne, all VSAT packages come with a SIP line that will allow them to make and receive calls using their internet connections. Business Unlimited customers will get multiple SIP lines as they are likely to have more than one phone extension.
How does TelOne fare against the competition?
VSAT is generally expensive and reserved for areas where there are no other options but these latest tweaks from TelOne make it easily the most affordable VSAT package I know. ZOL and Utande are the competition in this case and none of them can match what TelOne is putting on the table
ZOL does have both capped and uncapped VSAT packages but their data allocation pales in comparison especially after you add the night data allowance. For example, they have the bronze package which comes with 20GB of data and a download speed of 2 Mbps and upload speeds of 512 Kbps (that K is a bit jarring in today’s world but that’s VSAT for you).
It doesn’t matter which metric you use in this case, TelOne wins:
- Konnect Home 25 is TelOne’s entry package and it comes with 25 GB of data you can use anytime, 5GB more than ZOL, and we haven’t even gotten to the night time data part here.
- It’s priced at US$110 which is US$35 cheaper and
- the download and upload speeds for the Konnect Home 25 packages are 10 Mbps and 3 Mbps respectively
Utande’s entry package Y10 is cheaper at US$81 per month but it comes with far less data at 10GB Data compared to Konnect Home 25’s 25GB. A more comparable package would be Utande’s Y20 data which comes with 20GB of data however this one is priced at US$157, which is US$47 more compared to what TelOne is asking for at this level.
Like TelOne, Utande does offer nighttime data. For their Y10, Utande gives you 40GB of bonus data and for the Y20 package, you get 80GB of data. In fact, Utande multiplies your anytime data by a factor of four in order to arrive at the night time bonus data you get. Again TelOne wins this one with its unlimited night data option.
TelOne however loses to Utande on two points:
- Speed for the entry packages is higher with Utande offering 16 Mbps compared to TelOne’s 10 Mbps. They both offer 3 Mbps up. In the grand scheme of things, the speed difference is unlikely to matter much in the real world but it’s still nice to have.
- Then there is the equipment issue, you have two options:
- Buy a 74cm dish antenna and equipment for US$500 or
- Buy a 120cm dish antenna and equipment for $1 280
- Currently, TelOne no payment options due to limited stock although they have promised to introduce a “24 months to pay scheme” as they have done in the past
- On the other hand, Utande currently offers terms and even a rental option
The gauntlet has been thrown
With this latest salvo, TelOne has position their VSAT offering well. While the initial cost is steep the target market can certainly afford to pay for the equipment. Businesses and homes can also schedule downloads and other non-priority data intensive tasks such as updates to take place during the night time data hours.