I’ve actually been wanting to write about this for a while. I had almost forgotten what a pain it once was to always have to monitor our internet use, until I recently talked to a newcomer who doesn’t have any internet at all (or, rather, has to perch precariously on her windowsill in the one place of her house where she can poach the neighbor’s internet, just to download emails).
When we moved here, we had signed up for Telkom’s internet service, not really knowing what else was out there. Telkom has a 9 gigabyte monthly cap on their internet service, and let me tell you, it is not enough. At least for a family of 6 people that includes (soon) two teenagers. We have friends who looked at us incredulously for even attempting to make do with 9 gigabytes. Most people back home probably don’t even know their usage because they’ve never had to deal with a cap.
I had signed up for weekly reports and notifications once we reached 80% of our alloted share, but somehow that never quite worked. Every month I was absolutely startled when the internet stopped working around the 23rd of the month, and I’d turn routers on and off and reboot with a fury, until it would dawn on me that once again we’d reached our cap. Invariably I’d have a very important email sitting in my outbox, or some crucial internet banking transaction to make, and I’d spend my day trying to purchase topup gigabytes, which is possible but cumbersome (you can read of my topup trials and tribulations under “A Typical Day in South Africa – Take Two”).
I might have originally recommended MWEB to you as an alternative to Telkom, but when we finally had enough of the cap business and decided to purchase uncapped internet, the best alternative turned out to be Afrihost. They don’t make you sign any contract (i.e. you’re free to cancel month to month), their service from what I’ve heard so far is excellent, and they are affordable. We now pay an additional R497 per month for our uncapped service (at 4096 kbps – slow, I know, but the fastest you can get around here), and I (or rather Noisette – remember I have no authority at Telkom whatsoever as I’m not the account holder) was also able to get a R200 or so monthly credit from Telkom when we canceled the 9 gig service. So around R300 net for the peace of mind to never run out was worth it for us.
Afrihost actually has a promotion at the moment where you can get the first month for R1, but it is first come first serve and I’m not sure if it’s still available. In any case, it’s worth checking out if you’re looking for uncapped internet.