We made a comparison of the best fixed internet provider. Then we did another for the best mobile internet provider. But maybe these 2 classes of internet providers don’t reach some of you in the most remote parts of Zimbabwe and you need to go satellite. Look no further. This is all of the VSAT internet providers in Zimbabwe.
VSAT is a technology for accessing the internet via satellite. It works the exact same way as DStv or OpenView but instead of receiving TV channels, you’ll be receiving internet. In fact, all VSAT providers are using the same satellite that DStv, AzamTV, and OpenView are using. So exactly the same tech.
For the shootout we will look at:
Selection of packagesPrice per GBInstallation and equipment costsDownload and upload speed.
To help us keep track of the best value, we will give each ISP a score. The higher the score the more value we get from that ISP. The VSAT ISPs are Liquid Home, Telco, TelOne, Utande, and Zodsat.
Selection of packages
Telco SAT Pro 5GBKonnect Home 25Classic Y10VSAT Bronze 20GBLite Basic 5GB
Telco SAT Pro 10GBKonnect Home 50Classic Y20VSAT Silver 30GBLite 10GB
Telco SAT Pro 15GBKonnect Home 100Classic Y30VSAT Gold 40GBSME/Home Basic 25GB
Telco SAT Pro 20GBKonnect Home (Unlimited)Premium Y50 VSAT Business Plus 50GBPremium 50GB
Telco SAT Pro 30GBPremium Y75VSAT Platinum UnlimitedPremium 100GB
Telco SAT Pro 50GBPremium Y100Premium 250GB
Telco SAT Pro 75GBHome Entry Unlimited 2Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 100GBHome Basic Unlimited 10Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 150GBHome Intense Unlimited 20Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 200GB
Telco SAT Pro 300GB
Telco SAT Pro 500GB
Telco SAT 4Gen (Unlimited) 3Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Unlimited) 5Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Unlimited) 10Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Unlimited) 20Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (CIR) 10Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (CIR) 10Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Daily Plan) 25Mbps
Telco is MILES ahead of anyone else when it comes to variety. It’s such a wide spread of packages, so you can easily find the right one for your needs—a selection of 18 packages to choose from. Zodsat comes in second with literally half the selection that Telco has. Still decent regardless. Also, Zodsat primarily focuses on VSAT so it’s a shame they took the less-is-more approach and gave Telco the win.
Utande comes in third filling up the last of the top 3 positions. What it is lacking is an unlimited package so if you are a heavy user or even a very busy holiday resort or school deep in the middle of nowhere then you’ll have to make do with 100GB. Liquid Home is a close 4th with just 5 options vs Utande’s 6 and TelOne finishes last with only 4 VSAT options.
Average price per GB
Telco SAT Pro 5GB – US$4.80Konnect Home 25 – US$5.20
US$0.74*Classic Y10 – US$5.40
US$1.08*VSAT Bronze 20GB – US$6.51**Lite Basic 5GB – US$4.00
Telco SAT Pro 10GB – US$4.50Konnect Home 50 – US$4.50
US$0.64*Classic Y20 – US$5.30
US$1.06* – US$1.06*VSAT Silver 30GB – US$5.40**Lite 10GB – US$4.00
Telco SAT Pro 20GB – US$4.35Konnect Home 100 – US$3.00
US$0.75*Classic Y30 – US$4.50
US$0.90*VSAT Gold 40GB – US$6.48**SME/Home Basic 25GB – US$4.00
Telco SAT Pro 30GB – US$4.13Premium Y50 – US$4.16
US$2.31*VSAT Business Plus 50GB – US$7.93**Premium 50GB – US$4.00
Telco SAT Pro 50GB – US$3.78Premium Y75 – US$3.64
US$1.76*Premium 100GB – US$3.50
Telco SAT Pro 75GB – US$3.44Premium Y100 – US$3.63
US$1.65*Premium 250GB – US$2.50
Telco SAT Pro 100GB – US$3.21
Telco SAT Pro 150GB – US$3.09
Telco SAT Pro 200GB – US$2.92
Telco SAT Pro 300GB – US$2.58
Telco SAT Pro 500GB – US$1.94
*Figures inclusive of bonus night browsing dataUtande: 12 am – 6 amZodsat: 10 pm – 6 amTelOne: 10 pm – 6 am**USD pricing is not available for Liquid Home. Figures were obtained by converting RTGS prices to USD using the average RBZ auction rate of ZW$635.48 – US$1 as of 8 November 2022. Actual USD pricing can be different in-store.
Things get a bit wild here but worry not. Disclaimer number 1 is we removed unlimited packages from this section because it’s a mess if we include them. There is a thing called Fair Usage Policy (FUP) and different ISPs treat it differently. For example, TelOne has a data volume cap for its FUP and Liquid Home has internet speed throttling on its version of FUP.
Disclaimer 2. Some have free night browsing data and some do not. So starting with the data used by normal people or during the day.
Telco wins out here. At an average price of US$3.52 per GB, it’s the cheapest VSAT data anyone can get. Next is Zodsat at US$3.67 which is quite a small gap in price between the 2. TelOne comes in 3rd at US$4.23 which is a bit of a bigger price gap from the top two. Utande is a bit close to TelOne as well at US$4.44 per GB with Liquid Home ending things last with an average price per GB of US$6.58. Almost double what Telco’s average is!
When we include night browsing data into the mix, things get ridiculously cheap for some. Zodsat leads the pack at 59c per GB. TelOne fights a good fight at 71c per GB but can only take second place and Utande is a long way off from the two at US$1.46 per GB. So if you have a use case for browsing in the witching hour, then your pocket will dearly thank you with these 3 ISPs. And for obvious reasons, there is no extra night browsing on unlimited data packages.
Installation & Equipment cost
US$60074cm Ka Band Kit + installation
US$580Equipment Rental Option
Installation – US$100
Wireless router – US$40
VSAT annual licence – US$38
Monthly insurance – US$5Equipment & Installation – US$1440Installation – US$100
US$10098cm Ka Band Kit + installation
US$700Equipment purchase option
Installation – US$100
Wireless router – US$40
VSAT annual licence – US$37
VSAT equipment – US$350Equipment – US$350
120cm Ka Band Kit + installation
US$1360Transport – US$0.50/kmTransport – US$0.50
US$700US$580 – US$1360US$183 – US$487US$1440US$450
*Liquid Home does not state installation costs on its website. Installation costs reported are of a Techzim employee who received the VSAT service. Figures were converted from ZW$ to US$ using the RBZ average auction rate of ZW$88.55 – US$1 as of 12 October 2021 (The date of the invoice). In-store pricing may be different.
On installation costs we look at the lowest you can pay each ISP so that you get connected. Some VSAT providers offer a wider selection of hardware packages than others. In the case of TelOne, it’s primarily the size of the satellite receiver (Satellite Dish). The bigger the dish, the more stable your connection will be even when the weather conditions are harsh.
Utande offers the lowest installation costs of US$183 however the catch is that you will be renting the equipment. So what you are paying for is pretty much labor and other service costs associated with the equipment. Zodsat however becomes the cheapest at US$450 for the equipment and installation/labor, even edging out Utande’s US$487.
TelOne is third on the pile with a spread from US$580 to US$1360 depending on the kit you think works for your internet demands. 4th there is Telco with a US$700 fee with Liquid Home asking for a cool US$1440 for their kit.
Also note that for almost all of the ISPs, there is a transport fee of US$0.50 per km to the site of installation and if some long cables need to be run from the satellite receiver to the modem then that is also an added cost to think about.
Download & Upload speeds
Telco SAT Pro 5GB – 16/3MbpsKonnect Home 25 – 10/3MbpsClassic Y10 – 16/3MbpsVSAT Bronze 20GB – 2/0.512MbpsLite Basic 5GB – 5/3Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 10GB – 16/3MbpsKonnect Home 50 – 20/3MbpsClassic Y20 – 16/3MbpsVSAT Silver 30GB – 3/0.512MbpsLite 10GB – 10/3Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 15GB – 16/3MbpsKonnect Home 100 – 25/3MbpsClassic Y30 – 16/3MbpsVSAT Gold 40GB – 4/0.512MbpsSME/Home Basic 25GB – 10/3Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 20GB – 25/6MbpsKonnect Home (Unlimited) – 25/3MbpsPremium Y50 – 25/6MbpsVSAT Business Plus 50GB – 10/1MbpsPremium 50GB – 20/3Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 30GB – 25/6MbpsPremium Y75 – 25/6MbpsVSAT Platinum Unlimited – 10/1MbpsPremium 100GB – 25/3Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 50GB – 25/6MbpsPremium Y100 – 25/6MbpsPremium 250GB – 25/3Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 75GB – 25/6MbpsHome Entry Unlimited – 2/1Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 100GB – 25/6MbpsHome Basic Unlimited – 10/3Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 150GB – 25/6MbpsHome Intense Unlimited 20/3Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 200GB – 25/6Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 300GB – 25/6Mbps
Telco SAT Pro 500GB – 25/6Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Unlimited) – 3/1Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Unlimited)) – 5/2Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Unlimited) – 10/3Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Unlimited) – 20/3Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (CIR) – 10/3Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (CIR) – 10/3Mbps
Telco SAT 4Gen (Daily Plan) – 25/3Mbps
18.39 Mbps average download speed
4.33 Mbps average upload speed20 Mbps average download speed
3 Mbps average upload speed20.5 Mbps average download speed
4.5 Mbps average upload speed5.8 Mbps average download speed
0.707 Mbps average upload speed14.11 Mbps average download speed
2.11 Mbps average upload speed
Download speed is the most important category for the majority of you and hence the bias of all ISPs toward higher download speeds than upload speeds. So the rating here will also be biased toward download speed.
Utande is offering the highest average download speeds at 20.5Mbps. Very decent for VSAT actually. TelOne is a close second with an average of 20Mbps download speed. Telco is third with an average of 18.39Mbps with Zodsat coming in at 14.11Mbps. Remember most fiber and ADSL packages you are using are ranging from 10 to 20 Mbps so these 4 ISPs are offering very decent VSAT internet speeds. Then there is Liquid Home coming in last with an average download speed of 5.8Mbps. Less than half the speed of Zodsat that’s in 4th place!
If you do a decent amount of posting stuff to the internet or running backups to the cloud then upload speed might be your biggest concern. In that case, Utande again is top of the heap with an average upload speed of 4.5Mbps. Telco is super close with an average of 4.33Mbps in upload speed. TelOne comes in third at 3Mbps with Zodsat coming in 4th at 2.11Mbps upload speed which is now close to a crawling pace for running backups and uploading big files like videos. Then there is Liquid Home with an upload speed of 0.707Mbps. You can’t do much with that. It’s way too slow even for emails.
VSAT tends to be easily susceptible to disturbances like weather, interference, and even the time of day. So speeds are guaranteed to fluctuate quite a lot. The speeds here are the maximum each ISP will offer but you might struggle to consistently get these quoted max speeds. What you experience on the ground might change the order of this list but using the data each ISP has provided, that is how things look.
The best overall VSAT provider is…
Selection of packages51324
Average price per GB53.5*2.5*14.5*
Installation & equipment cost23514
Download and upload speed34512
*A blended score for ISPs offering bonus night data on their capped packages.
Utande takes the crown for the best overall VSAT internet provider in Zimbabwe. At least on paper. It took the top spot by just half a point from Telco which came in second. Zodsat completes the top 3 best VSAT ISPs with all 3 of them separated by half a point each so it’s really a fierce competition but also an impressive showing from 3 ISPs that very few people know about. TelOne only managed to grab 4th place with Liquid Home last and by quite a margin. Looks like on paper they are the least value for money if you need a VSAT connection.
The table in this section will give you a picture of each ISP’s strengths and weaknesses to help you pick one with the attributes that are of the highest priority to you. Maybe money is no object and so installation costs don’t matter so long you get the speed. Maybe you need flexibility and the greater the package selection the better it is for you. If you already have VSAT in Zimbabwe mention the ISP you are using and what your experience has been like. After all, real-world experience is the true test of how good these ISPs are.
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