The Internet Landscape in South Africa: 4G LTE vs. Fibre vs. Starlink

In today’s digital age, having reliable internet access is essential for both personal and professional endeavours. However, choosing the right internet technology can be a daunting task, especially with the array of options available. In South Africa, three popular choices dominate the internet landscape: 4G LTE, Fibre, and Starlink. Let’s explore the features, benefits, and considerations of each to help you make an informed decision.


4G LTE stands for fourth-generation long-term evolution, and it’s a widely adopted wireless broadband technology that offers high-speed internet access through cellular networks. Here’s what you need to know about 4G LTE:

  • Speed: With theoretical maximum speeds ranging from 100 Mbps to 300 Mbps, 4G LTE offers decent speeds suitable for most online activities.
  • Reliability: While reliability can vary based on network congestion and coverage, 4G LTE networks tend to be more reliable in urban areas.
  • Coverage: 4G LTE coverage is widespread in urban and suburban areas but might be limited or slower in rural regions.
  • Cost: 4G LTE plans are usually more affordable compared to fibre and Starlink, making it an attractive option for budget-conscious users.
  • Mobility: One of the significant advantages of 4G LTE is its mobility, allowing users to access the internet anywhere within the coverage area using compatible devices.


Fibre-optic technology involves transmitting data through thin strands of glass or plastic fibres. Fibre internet is known for its high-speed and reliable connectivity. Here are the key points about Fibre:

  • Speed: Fibre-optic connections offer the fastest and most consistent speeds, often ranging from 100 Mbps to 1 Gbps or higher.
  • Reliability: Fibre tends to be highly reliable with minimal downtime and consistent speeds.
  • Coverage: While Fibre coverage is expanding in urban areas, it might be limited in rural regions.
  • Cost: Fibre tends to be more expensive initially due to installation costs but may offer better value for high-speed internet access over the long term.
  • Static: Unlike 4G LTE, Fibre is static and requires a fixed connection to your premises.

Starlink (*cockblocked by ICASA):

Starlink is a satellite internet constellation being constructed by SpaceX to provide worldwide internet coverage. Here’s what you should know about Starlink:

  • Speed: Starlink promises high-speed internet access, with speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps during the initial rollout, with the potential for higher speeds in the future.
  • Reliability: While reliant on satellite technology, Starlink is designed to be reliable even in rural and remote areas, although it can be affected by weather conditions and satellite positioning.
  • Coverage: Starlink is designed to provide internet access globally, including in remote and rural areas where traditional infrastructure like Fibre is unavailable.
  • Cost: Starlink may have higher upfront costs for equipment compared to other options, and monthly subscription fees may also be higher initially.
  • Mobility: While primarily designed for stationary use, Starlink offers the potential for mobility in the future, making it suitable for rural areas and regions lacking fixed infrastructure.

In conclusion, the choice between 4G LTE, Fibre, and Starlink depends on your specific needs, location, and budget. If you prioritize speed and reliability and live in an urban area, Fibre might be the best option. However, if you’re in a rural or remote area without access to traditional infrastructure, Starlink could be a viable solution. On the other hand, 4G LTE offers mobility and affordability, making it a popular choice for many users. Evaluate your options carefully to ensure you find the internet technology that best suits your requirements.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *