Why is it so hard to get an affordable 10mbps ADSL line from MWEB?!

Filed Under: Broadband | Tagged with: , , , , ,
18 May 2012 | Comments

As most ADSL users already know, MWEB has for a long time been the best choice, in fact, the only choice, for affordable, reliable no-nonsense uncapped ADSL data in South Africa.

I've been enjoying MWEB's 4mbps uncapped ADSL account for the last 6 months, after signing up for the promotion available to DSTV subscribers which gives you the first 3 months free on a 6 month contract. The promotion was for an uncapped data package only, and didn't include ADSL line rental. So my 4mbps ADSL line remained with Telkom. The service performed really well, achieving good speeds both during the day and at night on all the standard protocols including Torrent downloads. I don't consider myself a heavy user though - my average usage is about 80-100GB of data per month.

The Juciy Bait

After the end of this contract, which was about 2 weeks ago, MWEB phoned me up, and offered to migrate my ADSL line over to them, by dangling a juicy morsel in front of me:

  • I would save R53 per month by migrating my line. Telkom 4mbps ADSL line rental usually costs R413 per month, and MWEB's 4mbps uncapped account is R539 per month, giving a total of R952 per month. The all-in-one package from MWEB would cost R899 per month (a R53 saving), but required that you migrate your ADSL line from Telkom over to MWEB.
  • I wouldn't need to deal with Telkom anymore for any ADSL issues. If I had any problems on the line, I would report it to MWEB, who would then do all the dirty work behind the scenes by dealing with Telkom on my behalf.
  • Migrating your ADSL line is simply an administrative process, involving some paper work. My ADSL line would not be disconnected or affected, in anyway.

The Rule

Now I've always had this long-standing rule to never migrate your ADSL line away from Telkom to another ISP, for 3 reasons:

  1. To allow for maximum flexibility in changing ADSL providers, as the standard pricing on ADSL has seen a downward trend since 2009
  2. To allow yourself to take advantage of limited promotions and special offers on ADSL data and all-in-packages that are just too good to be true (especially to MyBroadband members like myself)
  3. Telkom might be bad, but rather the devil that you know, than the one you don't

The Catch

Long story short, after contemplating the idea for a few days, I broke my own rule and took the bait, and was hooked. I filled in the documentation, sent it to MWEB, and a few days later I was informed that my line had been migrated. MWEB reeled me in and threw me into their pond.

2 miracles and disappointment

So last week, after Afrihost stunned the market by launching an uncapped 10mbps ADSL account for R997 per month (miracle 1), I decided to check with Telkom if by some chance the Telkom exchange in Lenasia had been upgraded to support 10mbps lines. After phoning Telkom 3 times, and being put on hold for a total of 30 minutes, to my delight, they said that the exchange supported 10mbps lines (miracle 2), and that I could upgrade my line to 10mbps, or rather to the most stable speed as close to 10mbps that the copper connection will allow. I asked them to go ahead and do it immediately, but the consultant informed me that I had to contact MWEB in order to upgrade, as my ADSL line had been migrated to them.

I then contacted MWEB, who informed me that in order to upgrade to 10mbps, I would have to upgrade my entire package to the 10mbps all-in-one package which costs a whopping R2359. They refused to upgrade just the line to 10mbps (so that I can use a capped account from another ISP to utilize the full 10mbps speed), and leave the data package at 4mbps uncapped, even though the upgrade to 10mbps costs them nothing, except some paperwork to be sent to Telkom. They also refuse to upgrade the line to 10mbps and move me onto a capped package.

So if you migrated your ADSL line to MWEB, then the only way to get 10mbps, is to upgrade to a 10mbps uncapped all-in-one account at a mind-blowing ridiculous price of R2359 per month. Either that or cancel your MWEB account, which requires a 1 calendar month notice. I sent my cancellation notice through yesterday, and I will only be able to appreciate the speed of 10mbps from the 1 June onwards, even though Telkom says I can have it now.

The Bottom line

For the few rands saving you might achieve each month, it is not worth migrating your line to another ISP. I should never have broken my own rule. Now I have to suffer for it. Lesson learnt:

Don't ever migrate your ADSL line to another ISP. Keep it with Telkom.

If you've already migrated your line to MWEB or another ISP, I suggest you start the process of migrating your line back to Telkom.

Some hope

After the frustration I suffered, I decided to to escalate this issue with MWEB, to see if there is anything that they could do about it. I sent a PM (private message) to MWEB Guy on the MyBroadband Forums, who is the official MWEB representative on the forums, to voice my frustration:


I require some assistance. Hopefully MWEB will still be able to keep me as a happy customer after the frustration I've been through. And if not, I hope that MWEB will release me so that I can be a happy non-customer.

Here's the story:

I phoned Telkom to check if my exchange supports 10mbps, and to my delight they said it did. I asked them to upgrade my 4mbps to 10mbps, but they said they couldn't, because my line was migrated to MWEB. So I then called MWEB requesting that my line by upgraded to 10mbps.

However, MWEB refused to upgrade just the line to 10mbps, and leave the data package at 4mbps uncapped, even though the upgrade to 10mbps costs MWEB nothing, except some paperwork. My idea was to keep 4mbps uncapped for everyday use, and change to a capped package on an ad-hoc basis, from another ISP, when I want to download at full 10mbps speeds. However, MWEB said that this wasn't possible.

So I then ask if I can be put onto a capped MWEB package, so that I can upgrade my line to 10mbps and be able to enjoy the faster speeds. However, I was refused again.

I was told that if I migrated my ADSL line to MWEB, then the only way to enjoy 10mbps speed (aside from the Telkom limitations), is to upgrade to a 10mbps uncapped all-in-one account at a mind-blowing ridiculous price of R2359 per month. Either that or cancel your MWEB account, which requires a 1 calendar month notice. I sent my cancellation notice through yesterday, which means that I will only be able to appreciate the speed of 10mbps from the 1 July onwards, even though Telkom says I can have it NOW.

Bottom line: I REGRET MIGRATING MY ADSL LINE TO MWEB, and will be advising everyone I know not to do this.

What I would like? One of the following options:

- To be allowed to cancel my account at the end of this month, instead of the end of next month, and have my line migrated back to Telkom by the 1st of June. This will make me happy because I can then upgrade to 10mbps and use an ISP that has more sane pricing on uncapped 10mbps (like Afrihost - R997!) or perhaps use an ISP that offers high cap accounts that allow full 10mbps speed (WebAfrica - 50GB for R399).

- To have just the physical line upgraded to 10mbps. This is a free upgrade from Telkom, and costs MWEB nothing, except perhaps some paperwork. Leave my 4mbps uncapped account as is.

- Move me over onto a capped account from MWEB

BTW: I will be blogging about my MWEB experience on my personal blog: www.inthecube.co.za. I hope to that I will be able to write good things about the ISP that I respect so much, the one that revolutionized the internet in RSA, by making uncapped affordable, against all odds.

Kind regards
Saajid Ismail


MWEB Guy replied back quite promptly saying that he will escalate the issue to the "specialists" at MWEB. I hope that they will be able to allow me to cancel my line by the end of this month (May) instead of having to wait until the end of June. I want to start enjoying 10mbps speeds NOW.

There is some further glimmer of hope - MWEB today announced that they will be reviewing their 10mbps uncapped account pricing. But even if they reduce pricing from R2359 to R1359 (which would bring their all-one pricing in line with Afrihost's data-only package), it is still a huge amount of money to spend each month.

So now I wait on MWEB..... I will post updates on this issue through this blog, my Facebook page, and Twitter profile, for anyone interested in the outcome.

About the author

Saajid Ismail: husband, father, techno-geek, soccer star, telecoms-freak, gadget-weak. IT Manager, former software developer, and part time web and graphic designer.

These are my rantings and ravings about telecoms, technology and everyday life in Lenasia, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Disclaimer: This is a personal weblog. The opinions expressed herein represent my own, and are subject to change without notice.