Research by Analytico reveals that Openserve is the fibre network operator (FNO) with the strongest brand, followed closely by Vumatel.
Frogfoot and MetroFibre also performed well in brand awareness, considering that they are much smaller than Openserve and Vumatel.
South Africa has a vibrant fibre market with around 40 prominent open-access fibre providers and over 45 small-scale fibre operators.
Vumatel is the fibre broadband leader in South Africa, with 1.5 million homes passed and 450,000 connections.
Openserve is second with 890,000 homes passed, while Metrofibre and Frogfoot showed rapid growth with 350,000 and 334,000 homes passed, respectively.
Octotel, Vodacom, HeroTel, Evotel, TT Connect, and Zoom are all passing over 100,000 homes each.
Homes passed and the number of connections are closely related to network investments, but there is another aspect to broadband connections — brand awareness.
Brand awareness is important in areas where two or more FNOs compete for market share. Although fibre network overbuilds are not common, it increasingly happens.
FNOs have to get to a 30% connectivity rate to make their business model work, and strong brand awareness can help to outperform competitors.
When people were asked to pick the fibre network operator of their choice, Openserve was the most popular choice. Vumatel was second, followed by Vodacom, Frogfoot, and MetroFibre.
People selected Openserve because of its reputation for having a quality network and offering well-priced products.
Vumatel also has a good network, but many people expressed unhappiness with Vumatel’s prices.
FNO brand strength among different skill levels
Openserve and Vumatel were the preferred fibre network operators among tech-savvy people and those with basic technical knowledge.
Vodacom topped the list among people who know little about technology. This is likely because of brand recognition rather than thinking Vodacom has a better fibre network than Openserve or Vumatel.
Tech-savvy consumers picked Openserve because of its aggressive pricing and quality network.
Its main competitor, Vumatel, also has a good network, but its higher pricing hurt it among technical consumers and those with average tech knowledge.
FNO brand strength in different cities
Openserve was the preferred fibre network operator in Gauteng, Durban, and Port Elizabeth, while Vumatel reigned supreme in Cape Town.
Frogfoot featured prominently in Port Elizabeth, where it has a strong network presence. Octotel, based in Cape Town, had a standout performance in Cape Town, where it has an extensive fibre network.
Vumatel’s good showing in Cape Town is linked to its extensive low-cost fibre-to-the-home rollout in Mitchell’s Plain.
The fibre network operator received excellent media coverage around this initiative which helped it build its brand awareness in the Mother City.
Octotel, based in Cape Town, also had a particularly strong performance in the Mother City.
It is no surprise as Octotel focuses on the Western Cape for its fibre rollouts. Frogfoot had a standout performance in Port Elizabeth, where it has a strong network presence.