If you are looking for a reliable and powerful Internet connection for your home, fiber is a medium of choice.
There are many ways you can connect your home to the Internet. Every solution has its pros and cons. This is a short overview of what you can get today in Laos.
Mobile broadband 3G/4G
Mobile broadband is probably the fastest way to get the Internet into your home. Mobile broadband leverages the same network as your phone to connect to the High Speed Internet. As such, you should always ensure that the signal at your home is optimal before investing in such a solution. If your phone has good coverage and you are happy with the browsing experience from your mobile, there is no reason you would not be happy with the mobile broadband product from the very same provider!
To enjoy mobile broadband, you simply need a SIM and a USB dongle. You can also invest in a small portable hotspot that allows you to share your mobile connectivity across 10 devices within the same room.
The downside of mobile broadband? The packages are limited in volume. Mobile broadband is not the best solution if you wish to binge-watch Netflix. For those who have a moderate use of the Internet, it is still a very good solution.
If you choose Lao Telecom for instance, it will cost you 50,000 Ks for 7GB of Internet available during 30 days.
Another provider of home wireless broadband is Planet 4G. Unlike Laotelecom, Planet 4G is not a mobile operator but a wireless internet service provider. This means that its network is dedicated to broadband and no mobile phone can connect to it.
Planet offers what we call unlimited packages with a fair usage policy. This type of product is prevalent among wireless internet service providers. The broadband Internet provider grants you access to a volume of data, and once this volume is consumed, the service does not stop, but the speed is reduced drastically.
Planet 4G packages range from 200,000 Kip for 10GB to 800,000 Kip for 100GB per month. The Internet speed is 10 Mbps until the volume is used up and then reduce to 128 Kbps.
ADSL stands for Asymmetric digital subscriber line. The technology leverages traditional fixed phone lines to carry the Internet to the subscriber. ADSL quality is strongly dependent on the quality of the phone network and the distance between the subscriber and the nearest aggregation point. ADSL is not a symmetrical technology which means that the downlink will always be higher than the uplink. Most of the Internet applications are asymmetric by essence such as Internet browsing or video streaming. So for those types of applications, it does not really matter that the upload speed is not as high as the download speed. However, voice and video calls require symmetrical bandwidth. ADSL is mostly a technology from the past. However, it has the advantage of offering unlimited bandwidth.
ADSL coverage in Laos is wider than Fiber to the Home. If you do not have the chance to sit in a zone covered by fiber, ADSL is a solution to consider.
Fiber to the Home – FTTH
Fiber is the technology of choice for broadband service. Fiber communication uses light pulse to carry data over which means that the transit latency is the speed of light. Fiber can also carry a large volume of data and is fully symmetrical.
Fiber is therefore the technology of choice for heavy users, Internet gamers, and enterprise customers. The only downside of fiber is the installation that could end up being costly. Fiber is not based on wireless technology or on an existing medium such as a phone line, hence it is a new network that needs to be built. Standard fiber installation in Laos ranges from 500,000 Kip to 1,500,000 Kip in urban areas. However, telecom providers reserve the right to charge you extra if your location is far from their existing fiber network.
TPLUS Fiber to the Home service ranges from 2 Mbps to 100 Mbps.
• (2 Mbps) 12 months payment get free install
• (3 Mbps) 6 months payment get free install
• (5 Mbps) 3 months payment get free install
Term & Conditions:
• Free Install up to 500 meters.
• 3,000 kip/1Mter for the extra cable.
• Install fee is 500,000 kip up to 500 meters.
• Free Equipment / return ONT after the termination.
• No Deposit.
• 6 months in advance payment get 1 month for free (7th month for free).
• 12 months in advance payment get 2 months for free (13th & 14th month for free).
Unitel FTTH ranges from 3 Mbps to 1 Gbps (yes 1 Gbps !). The installation only takes 3-4 days and the setup fees are reasonable: 600,000 Kip.
Unitel offers the following promotion:
- 6 month prepaid customers will be free in the 7th month.
- 12 month prepaid customers will be free in 3 months: the 13th,14th, and 15th months.
Lao Telecom FTTH
The standard installation fees for Lao Telecom FTTH are 1,500,000 Kip which is quite high compared to the competition.
The standard installation fee applies if the length between Splitter and Telephone box does not exceed 500 meters In case, the cable length is over 500m, it will be charged an additional 3,000 Kip /m.
ETL does not offer standard installation fees. The telecom provider performs a survey and provides a custom quotation based on your exact location and distance from their existing network. ETL Lao charges 2,000 Kip per meter of fiber.
Skytel offers 3 packages: 5, 8, and 10 Mbps. If you prepay the service for 3 months, installation is free. If you prepay for 6 months or 12 months, you get respectively one and three months free.
FTTH Price Comparison
When comparing the prices between the different service providers in Laos, it is important to take into consideration the installation costs and the different promotions.
If we look strictly at the monthly recurring fees, the comparison is as follows:
Unitel is overall the most cost-effective service in the market with an average price per Mbps at 38,000 Kip ($4/mbps).
If we study the average price per Mbps, it is a surprise to see that both ETL and Unitel pricing are not truly degressive. The biggest package is not the cheapest per Mbps as it should be. The best deal in the market sounds to be the 8Mbps package from ETL or Unitel.
If you are looking for Internet services, installation fees shall be something to consider as you compare the price of each provider. Let’s see what the 1 year Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) look like if we sum 12 months of subscription with the installation fees.
For this comparison, we had to exclude ETL which does not provide standard installation fees.
From a TCO standpoint, the best packages are from Unitel and Skytel, and to some extent Lao Telecom for the largest packages.
To get the full picture, we can also include in our calculation the different service provider promotions. Most of these are related to prepayment. TPLUS offers 2 months free if you prepay the service for 12 months, Unitel, and Skytel 3 months free.
If we decide to put the money upfront and prepay the service for 12 months, the total cost over 1 year including the current promotions is as follow:
Unitel and Skytel are the big winners thanks to their respective promotions. For those who can afford to put the money upfront, these two providers offer very attractive deals.