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Telkom getting rid of copper lines


Johandup

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I was informed by a Telkom tech that my town will change over to LTE this month as copper wires are history now.

And he made it sound so easy and affordable - which I don’t believe for a moment.

Has anyone done this change over with Telkom ? The people in my town are not forthcoming on this topic.

And how has it worked out for them? 

They are supposed to to contact customers with options but are quiet so far.

And I am visiting my favorite KNP from mid month so won’t be around when they do this.

Please share your experiences.

 

Edited by Johandup
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The DSL infrastructure in my in laws's suburb was so bad we decided to go the LTE route, ironically enough I ended up getting them a LTE package from Telkom, if Rain still had their fixed LTE sims I would have probably went with that, the Telkom LTE is pretty decent, they went from a intermittent DSL line 3MB/1.2MB Down/Up to the LTE that drifts somewhere between 10-15MB Down and 2-4Mb Up

My Rain fixed LTE sim however almost never goes below 30Mb down and 15Mb up, sadly they are no longer available :(

You can still get their LTE uncapped sims, more or less the same speeds, and its R250 for a package that is uncapped during business hours, pretty great for most small businesses.

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Telkom stopped maintaining their copper years ago. In the beginning of 2018 they dropped our DSL line and several of our copper exchange lines and couldn't seem to put Humpty Dumpty together again. Eventually we moved onto an LTE VOIP system until we could get Fibre installed.

We informed Telkom that due to their non-performance we were cancelling our service with them. They told us we needed to cancel online, but their online system never generated a confirmation mail back to us.

Now they are attempting to sue us for service fees for a service they couldn't or wouldn't provide. We have told them to pound sand up their bums. We look forward to explaining this to a Magistrate.

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54 minutes ago, PJJ said:

the Telkom LTE is pretty decent

there is no 4G coverage in our area. Do you think 3G would be sufficient for a workable solution? Another thing of interest to me is if you can keep your landline number if you change to VoIP mobile broadband?

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Copper is becoming a major PITA for Telkom.

In my neck of the woods, ADSL has a bad rap. Telkom get the blame for this, but it's not quite that simple.

The poles carrying Telkom cables tend to be on property boundaries. Now in theory Telkom have servitude and may enter to do legitimate work, but reality is something else. Access is not easily obtained, housekeepers won't let workers onto the property even if they have ID (those good old 2m walls, and other companies, notably Jhb Water have similar problems). 

In my 'hood Telkom realised that encroachment by trees and creepers was a major problem. Also possible bad connections at junction boxes at the top of each pole. So they launched a charm offensive and hired people to do minimal trimming only where there is encroachment, and to check all connections in the junction box. They pamphlet bombed the area, worked with the residents association to get email notices sent out, explained why they had to do this work (so y'all can had good, reliable ADSL) and even set up a by appointment system so that they would come at a pre-arranged date and time that suited you.

The homeowner two houses down from me (eccentric, financially challenged) just said no. She is not letting Telkom onto her property and she doesn't care about servitude and the City of Johannesburg can take a hike as well (of course, she still expects that everything works). Her garden is unmaintained and is best described as a jungle. Telkom can go to court and fight for an order reinforcing their servitude and compelling the owner to allow them access, but then what? Do they take a battering ram to her front gate?

In the meantime, everybody down stream (cable wise) from her has crappy ADSL because she is not going to allow Telkom access. Of course, Telkom get the blame and the angry phone calls for this. 

So I can see how copper (which also has this way of getting stolen) is not something they really want to do going forwards.

Forget Telkom for the time being.... Lte is a good option. You get a box, put a sim card on it, stick it on a window sill and you're in business. If you move, you take it with you. . 

Fiber is faster, we're told. It also, where I live, breaks down a lot. This doesn't surprise me as the fiber is underground (which may or may not have been done with all the proper permissions). So there's a burst water pipe and Joburg water start excavating with heavy equipment and bang goes everybody's fibre. It also seems to be problematic for a while after load shedding.

I like LTE. It's been pretty reliable for us, is immune to road works and load shedding (as long as you have some sort of back up for the router). Speeds are variable, which seems to be a time of day thing IE how many devices are hooking up to your nearest tower.

As regards Telkom LTE, their prices are very good, and although they play the usual game of giving you half the data at night, their night data runs until 7 in the morning so you actually get a shot at using some of it.

Edited by Bobster
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Johan, the bottomline is that anyone with copper in the ground be it Telkom, Eskom or whoever is losing a fight they cannot win. Cable is being stolen at a rate of knots and once replaced it's gone the next day again - it's not sustainable. If you have an option to go LTE or fibre I suggest you take it before you are forced to do so by 'missing' cables. Make the best of it - this is the world we live in. However if you move outside your assigned Tower area your number will probably change, but it might not, who knows. I however think it's locked to a tower for capacity planning and stop people moving without them knowing and ending up congesting other towers - That's what I would have done.

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1 hour ago, Ingo said:

Johan, the bottomline is that anyone with copper in the ground be it Telkom, Eskom or whoever is losing a fight they cannot win. Cable is being stolen at a rate of knots and once replaced it's gone the next day again - it's not sustainable. If you have an option to go LTE or fibre I suggest you take it before you are forced to do so by 'missing' cables. Make the best of it - this is the world we live in. However if you move outside your assigned Tower area your number will probably change, but it might not, who knows. I however think it's locked to a tower for capacity planning and stop people moving without them knowing and ending up congesting other towers - That's what I would have done.

There is all of that, it's true. Copper theft is a good business in SA. That said, I don't understand why more municipalities don't deply aliyumyum. We have ABC (Aluminium Bundled Cable) for power deliverly where I live, and nobody's going to bother stealing that. Sure, it cost money to put it in, but it's cheaper in the long run than continually replacing copper. Not sure if this will work for telecoms though.

But the other way to look at it is why would you want to stick with an internet connection that requires a copper wire? The only reason I can think of is because it's cheap (I don't know prices, but I'm guessing that's what it must be). LTE and fiber offer a much better connection - more reliable, faster. 

Equally, a provider in Telkom's position wants to reduce the number of technologies they have to support. If they can offer fiber internet connections (which they do, including on 3rd party networks such as Vumatel) and 4G cell/data connections, why do they want to have to commit resources to copper?

The last act of this play will be Telkom stripping out all their copper cable and selling it. Though given the area they have to cover, an entirely copper free future is not going to happen in the next couple of weeks.

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3 hours ago, Bobster said:

I like LTE. It's been pretty reliable for us,

Yes, Telkom LTE was pretty good for us too. They even came and put up an antenna when our signal was bad. Only problem is when data runs out half way through the month then it costs quite a bit to top up, although we could never finish the free night data that you can’t really use.

We recently switched to Vodacom fibre that is effected every time there is load shedding, so it seems there is no perfect system. My biggest worry with fibre is that vodacom installed  the fibre very poor in my property, they dig a tiny  200mm deep trench with no protection to the fibre cable. Unfortunately I was not there when they done this, now I sit with their bad installation. 

 

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11 minutes ago, Gerrie said:

Yes, Telkom LTE was pretty good for us too. They even came and put up an antenna when our signal was bad. Only problem is when data runs out half way through the month then it costs quite a bit to top up, although we could never finish the free night data that you can’t really use.

I leave for work about 5:30 in the morning. I commute using train and bus. So I've got a Telkom mini-router with 10 gigs for the month and I use the night owl data nearly all the way to work. Plus I'm usually up about 4:30 and that's when I download from iTunes or Google Play or whatever. So I get to use it - though not all of it. I wish there was a way to schedule, say, a Netflix download for 2 in the morning.

 

13 minutes ago, Gerrie said:

We recently switched to Vodacom fibre that is effected every time there is load shedding, so it seems there is no perfect system. My biggest worry with fibre is that vodacom installed  the fibre very poor in my property, they dig a tiny  200mm deep trench with no protection to the fibre cable. Unfortunately I was not there when they done this, now I sit with their bad installation. 

It's a problem because fibre is delicate too. Where I live it's Vumatel. Not very deep and seems to be the first thing that COJ hit when they have to excavate to get at pipes or cables.

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Be careful.

Got the same call to our business.

Two weeks later a cheap desktop lookalike cell phone arrives. What must we do with that ? How does this connect into our PABX ? 
Call to Telkom (bit of runaround) then connected to a friendly female that seemed to know what we are talking about - no problem, they will cancel immediately and send a courier to pick up the phone and not to worry our area is not scheduled for copper replacement for many years (business park) as Telkom does not have a solution and anyway when they phones us they should have asked a few questions (which they did not). We must not worry, our line will not be disconnected if we do not activate the phone (we never took it out of the box). Still waiting for the courier...

Two days later - bang. Disconnected. 

Panic sets in - many phone calls later, transfer this way and that. Bottom line: Nobody can help and no Sir we cannot reinstate your copper line. "Thank you for calling Telkom is there anything else we can help you with ?".

So we unpack the phone just to get our phone back up. What a piece of junk. Sound quality is terrible (at least the number still works and customers can get hold of us).

So what now ? I find a Huawei router B525 that has a phone socket output. I buy one (about two grand) and take the Telkom supplied sim card and insert it into the router. Seems to work but there is no sound (you can dial in and out no issue but no sound). Eventually do a factory reset on the router - now the sound works. Connects to the PABX so at least that part is OK.

Overall quality quite a bit worse than the original copper line but it depends - sometimes calls are clear, sometimes very difficult to listen to - often (but not always) significant voice delay (my first time with Telkom cell network - apparently that is normal here).

The Huawei router works OK but there is a 20 second or so delay when you dial out - you can hear it dial, then silence until the call goes through (somehow the ring tone does not seem to come through).

Does this sound like progress ? I don't think so. This is iffy to say the least and Telkom could not care a rats a#$%

Anyway, your luck with Telkom may vary - I'm not touching them with a barge pole if I can help it...

 

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40 minutes ago, The Bulldog said:

Be careful.

Got the same call to our business.

Two weeks later a cheap desktop lookalike cell phone arrives. What must we do with that ? How does this connect into our PABX ? 
Call to Telkom (bit of runaround) then connected to a friendly female that seemed to know what we are talking about - no problem, they will cancel immediately and send a courier to pick up the phone and not to worry our area is not scheduled for copper replacement for many years (business park) as Telkom does not have a solution and anyway when they phones us they should have asked a few questions (which they did not). We must not worry, our line will not be disconnected if we do not activate the phone (we never took it out of the box). Still waiting for the courier...

Two days later - bang. Disconnected. 

Panic sets in - many phone calls later, transfer this way and that. Bottom line: Nobody can help and no Sir we cannot reinstate your copper line. "Thank you for calling Telkom is there anything else we can help you with ?".

So we unpack the phone just to get our phone back up. What a piece of junk. Sound quality is terrible (at least the number still works and customers can get hold of us).

So what now ? I find a Huawei router B525 that has a phone socket output. I buy one (about two grand) and take the Telkom supplied sim card and insert it into the router. Seems to work but there is no sound (you can dial in and out no issue but no sound). Eventually do a factory reset on the router - now the sound works. Connects to the PABX so at least that part is OK.

Overall quality quite a bit worse than the original copper line but it depends - sometimes calls are clear, sometimes very difficult to listen to - often (but not always) significant voice delay (my first time with Telkom cell network - apparently that is normal here).

The Huawei router works OK but there is a 20 second or so delay when you dial out - you can hear it dial, then silence until the call goes through (somehow the ring tone does not seem to come through).

Does this sound like progress ? I don't think so. This is iffy to say the least and Telkom could not care a rats a#$%

Anyway, your luck with Telkom may vary - I'm not touching them with a barge pole if I can help it...

 

I’m wary of getting the same treatment. We know the service levels they strive for.

Unfortunately the competition is not so hot and they all see us coming.

Personally I think the lte wagon is overrated but the fiber installations are held back to minimise competition.

And Telkom is still a guvament property with all the state capture stories still around.

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19 hours ago, The Bulldog said:

Anyway, your luck with Telkom may vary - I'm not touching them with a barge pole if I can help it...

I thought avoiding Telkom was already coded in our DNA. Pity they disappoint so much but it's a fact.

I worked for an industrial control company that were bought out by Telkom and they went about retrenching those who didn't comply. Fair enough but they didn't follow labour law which spells this out explicitly. No, their sleazy lawyers concocted a trick to get those they didn't want to resign voluntarily.  

Edited by Richard Mackay
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I don't have a problem with telkom wanting to improve things, if copper is a problem, sure, but first make sure a work able option B is in place, and no LTE is not it, we're using about 450-500GB / month.

if they will give me a LTE package (ye they will demand a contract, or I will be liable for the HW costs needed), at the same price I'm paying for my ADSL package then sure, or pull their finger out of their asses and get the Fiber rolled out in the area, then I will happy middle finger everyone and go back to CoolIdeas as my ISP, I'm back on ADSL (Paying for VDSL) via Axxess atm and they are suppose to be #1 and they are useless...

 

G

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I’ll keep this post updated as the Telkom story unfolds.

Once the copper is gone the only way out is for wireless ( much more expensive and slower), 4g or 5g (which I would love to get but I’m living outside the metropolitan areas).

Rain does have a lte deal for R250 pm uncapped but excluding 6-11 at night. Go figure.

Telkom has just been reported with their lte down over a wide area.

 

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... so my setup is in JBay, Wavecrest, of course the fiber going into wavecrest by another provider is at the other side of wavecrest and they only seeing them roll out our side in about ... oh damm we don't have that schedule yet, thats how long...

I work in Jhb, and had a RAIN dongle, speed is pretty good (well if I was able to get reception, they're very spotty), uncapped 23:00 - 18:00 is pretty good, loved it, but as a option for my wife and kids, they get home at 17:00, and use it till 22:00, which is pay per use... R50/GB, consider at least 1GB/day so not a workable option. And that excludes how i will wire this into my current network infrastructure and the costs I will need to make to accomplish that.

G

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43 minutes ago, Johandup said:

I’ll keep this post updated as the Telkom story unfolds.

Once the copper is gone the only way out is for wireless ( much more expensive and slower), 4g or 5g (which I would love to get but I’m living outside the metropolitan areas).

Rain does have a lte deal for R250 pm uncapped but excluding 6-11 at night. Go figure.

Telkom has just been reported with their lte down over a wide area.

 

Johan depending how far you live outside of town you should still be fine.

I added one of these to my roof : X-POL-6-10 and that allowed me to connect to the Rain fixed LTE network, get this, 17KM AWAY :D

I live 17KM outside of the coverage map (granted I do live on a little koppie but no clear line of sight)

If I may ask, do you know how much data you use per month?

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17 minutes ago, PJJ said:

Johan depending how far you live outside of town you should still be fine.

I added one of these to my roof : X-POL-6-10 and that allowed me to connect to the Rain fixed LTE network, get this, 17KM AWAY :D

I live 17KM outside of the coverage map (granted I do live on a little koppie but no clear line of sight)

If I may ask, do you know how much data you use per month?

Retired so does a lot of streaming - no DStv.

Currently 400 gb at actual speed 18 mbps vdsl copper line.

I can probably setup a small server to copy media to and then watch it at night time.

Just a schlep as I am spoilt by live streaming.

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7 minutes ago, Johandup said:

Retired so does a lot of streaming - no DStv.

Currently 400 gb at actual speed 18 mbps vdsl copper line.

I can probably setup a small server to copy media to and then watch it at night time.

Just a schlep as I am spoilt by live streaming.

With that usage, I would buy 2 LTE routers (You can get them pretty cheap secondhand) and if you don't already have one get a Mikrotik router you can then schedule to route your network traffic through the LTE router of your choice at certain times of the day.

Then add one uncapped Rain sim R250 + one capped MTN Fixed LTE sim to the other 100GB = R550 (or 150GB for R750)

Total = R800 and for the most part you won't really notice that you are on a semi capped setup.

 

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hmmm, so you route from network to Mikrotik to LTE#1 (RAIN) during day and from network to Mikrotik to LTE#2 (MTN) at night, 

Dammm... thinking how this will even further complicate my setup, atm:

Edge Router is a Draytek Vigor 2760, as the ADSL/VDSL modem, feeding into a Unifi USG as my core (WAN port in, LAN port out) into a TPLink SG1024G, from where all my devices and Wifi AP's hang.

With the above, I will replace the Vigor with the Microtik, as a consolidation sport for the 2 LTE routers. Microtik then feeds into the USG.

Have to look at this as I'm nervous about Telkom just pulling plug on ADSL in JBAY, and we don't have Fiber and the WiFi ISP are ridiculous with their prces/contracts/speed offered. They still talking to the town as if it's all 65+ yr old just surfing on phones, for them a 4Mbps line is more than enough for anything, 

G

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On 2019/11/05 at 11:26 AM, Johandup said:

Personally I think the lte wagon is overrated but the fiber installations are held back to minimise competition.

And Telkom is still a guvament property with all the state capture stories still around.

Hear hear! I have yet to be impressed with wireless transmission of data..

Fibre is the way to go IMHO. It shouldn't take long to be deployed given all that it offers..

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42 minutes ago, Johandup said:

Difficult to deal with isps if their offerings are not longterm

https://mybroadband.co.za/news/cellular/319279-good-news-about-rain-unlimited-data.html

As stated in the article, it will continue to be offered to existing clients, but they will stop selling new sims.

They did the same thing with the Rain Fixed LTE packages months ago, I still have mine and it works wonders, but they are no longer available to the public.

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