Data Overload!


One of the most dominant trends in communication is that people are relying increasingly on data to get their message across, while traditional “calls” are on the decline. The challenge facing all business, but especially small businesses (due to limited budgets and know how), is what kind of connectivity to invest in.


ADSL vs. Fibre vs. Mobile Broadband

Access to the internet, especially messaging services such as SMS, WhatsApp and various social media platforms, is essential for any business. However, the type and size of your business will determine what type of data connectivity you require.

So what are the data connection options for your small business?

Type of Connection





Transmits data via a normal telephone line

Connection does not conflict with traditional voice calls


Suitable for a small office (2 or 3 computers) if you won’t be downloading or streaming huge files and you don’t need super- fast speeds, ADSL is perfectly adequate




Readily available in most areas


(Remember you can use it as a wi-fi hotspot for cell phones as well.)

Telephone wire based therefore subject to infrastructure constraints – quality and speed may degrade over longer distances


Internet speed is affected by the number of users in a particular area


Telkom owns the lines regardless of your Internet Service Provider, which means the customer can sometimes be ‘piggy in the middle’

Fibre Optic


Light impulses transmit data

Super-fast and guaranteed  - stable regardless of the number of users


Same upload and download speed


Suitable for larger businesses with multiple users, or if you are a ‘heavy’ data user e.g. video conferencing and live streaming


The best option if you need a dedicated data service for cloud storage


High protection against cybercrime because access requires physically cutting the fibres which will cause the signal to end – hence its own built-in warning system


Technology of the future

Still being rolled out, so not readily available everywhere





Mobile Broadband (cell phone)


Transmits through cell phone towers

Suitable for very small businesses or if you / your staff are mainly off-site


Convenient and allows for mobility and the ability to be in contact with customers whenever & wherever


Great as a back-up plan

Cellular data in South Africa is still considered to be very expensive


Need to be in range of a mobile tower – distance affects quality and reliability


The mobility and convenience comes at a heavy price, e.g. pre-paid customers can pay anywhere between 99c and R2. When looking at the various providers, comparing apples with apples is virtually impossible for the layman


The key is to shop around and to get the best dear for your current and short term needs. Beware of being tied into long term and possibly onerous contracts and look for offerings that can grow with your business needs.

Was this article helpful?
0 out of 0 found this helpful
Return to top