South Africa gets its first comparison website for broadband services

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With a growing number of internet service providers offering multiple broadband packages, South African users are now spoiled with choice. This is a good thing but the downside for the users is that they have to work out what the best package is going to be for their particular needs. The launch of www.broadbandcomparison.co.za at the beginning of this month offers now to South African Internet users the tools to make an informed choice when it comes to their broadband service. Isabelle Gross spoke to Chris Cox, Marketing Director at Compare Services SA about the new comparison website and its features.

www.broadbandcomparison.co.za is the brain child of two young South African entrepreneurs, Chris Cox who has a solid experience in running a number of affiliate websites and Ian Saunders an IT specialist who has been involved in building the backend web programming interfaces of the UK’s major comparison websites.

The main aim of the comparison website is to provide Internet users with a simple to use tool to find the cheapest or fastest broadband service deals in their area. While comparison websites often require users to fill in a long form with check boxes that can take up to 15 minutes to complete, this new comparison website only asks users to enter their fixed line telephone number (to locate the availability of broadband services in the area the user lives) and select a service criteria among the following four options: cheapest, faster, uncapped or wireless. The server will then retrieve a list of service packages and providers based on the user’s selection criteria. According to Chris Cox, www.broadbandcomparison.co.za features deals from all of South Africa’s top twelve Internet service providers.

Since the website only went live on August 1st, the traffic that it currently has is still very small but Chris is confident that it will grow over time as the Internet is becoming important for more South African consumers. In his view there are two main types of South African Internet consumers. A first group that is composed of very savvy and IT literate consumers who are likely to be the most attracted by this comparison website at this stage and a vast majority of Internet consumers that are at ease on Facebook but are not used to comparison websites.

The comparison service offered by www.broadbandcomparison.co.za is free of charge for the users. Revenues are generated via referrals and advertising. According to Chris Cox, they have reached agreements with the main internet service providers whereby they get a percentage on any Internet package services sold through the website’s referral system. There is no doubt that this is a volume business and it will be crucial for the comparison website to attract as many visitors as possible to ensure its financial viability.

www.broadbandcomparison.co.za currently only compares data packages for fixed and wireless broadband services in South Africa but the two entrepreneurs have plans to cover mobile broadband services as well in the near future. This is undoubtedly where the greatest market potential lies as more and more South African consumers access the Internet over a mobile connection. In its trading statement of June 2011, Pieter Uys, Vodacom Group CEO says that in South Africa its active data customers grew 37.7% to 9.6 million and the number of customers with a mobile internet bundle increased by 86.0% to 3.0 million. The mobile operator added 425,000 customers in the last quarter alone.



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