As strange as this seems, not everybody is happy with Orange’s price cuts and speed boosts. However, there is one major difference here: it’s not the users that are unhappy. It’s the other ISPs.
(Btw, as from now, when I say Orange, I am including MyT in it too)
This news piece was reported by L’Express some days back. I can’t tell you the exact date since I no longer have the paper, but it must be from the previous week, in the Techno section. We can easily guess who is unhappy and why. I bet it’s MTML and Nomad leading the pack, and it’s quite understandable.
With the price cuts and speed boosts, Orange has now become the ISP with the best offers around, in terms of price and speed. Orange is offering prices that smaller ISPs will never be able to match without sacrifices or losses. And if you ask me, I find that to be quite unfair towards them.
We know that Nomad’s service is not what you can call the most reliable service around, and that MTML’s dial-up replacement offer is not very satisfactory because of the capping. (I think the capping must still be on, but I’m not sure). Also, their speeds are not the fastest on the market now. MTML’s main offer is the 144Kbps and Nomad’s maximum is 512Kbps as far as I know. On the other side, you have Orange that has migrated its users to twice the speed for the same price. I don’t know how you call that, but I term it “unfair competition”.
I’m neutral in that I am not pro-Nomad or pro-MTML or anything. I’m just a normal Internet user, but I kind of feel pity for the other ISPs. But, and it’s a big but, I’m really happy with the boost in speed as a customer. What would have been better is some kind of compromise. It’s as if the State (or ICTA?) has accepted the recommendations about prices and speeds too easily, without considering everybody’s case.
Personally, I can’t find workable solutions. There is one that would work, but I’m pretty sure will not be implemented in Mauritius. This solution is the breaking of Orange’s monopoly over the SAFE cable, so that other ISPs no longer need to actually buy bandwidth from Orange. I doubt this will work since I guess that the other ISPs can’t afford bandwidth directly from SAFE. Something like “degroupage” in France, if you want.
Next would be a drastic reduction in the price that Orange sells bandwidth to the other ISPs. That price keeps falling, but if smaller ISPs need to have a fighting chance, it’s still too high according to the losing parties.
What can I say? ISP business in Mauritius is a cut-throat activity, and if you can’t fight, you go down, no matter how much you invested in the first place. That must be quite a large sum for Nomad and MTML, considering that they installed antennas and all the other equipments to provide wireless access so that they don’t have to use MT’s wires and cables.
Funnily enough, Emtel remains silent till now about the boost. It’s 1.8Mbps offer is directly threatened by Orange’s 1Mbps. I’d like to know what they are planning.
Sadly enough, this boost which is a great thing for us users might bring back what we fear most: Monopoly. This could happen if other ISPs decide to pack up and go.
What are your views on this? What do you think can be done to help smaller ISPs?