Social media data company DataEQ has released a report on South African Internet Service Provider (ISP) sentiment, showing how the country’s top six data-only ISPs compare in the eyes of consumers.

The index is based on an evaluation of social media posts conducted between May 1 and July 31, 2022. DataEQ tracks posts and assigns a sentiment rating based on whether they are positive, neutral, or negative. These scores are then used to calculate a Net Sentiment rating for each provider.

The group tracked 24,000 posts on Twitter, Facebook and other online sources during that period.

Afrihost came out on top as the ISP with the most brand positivity, although overall sentiment was still negative. This was a trend across the industry, which had an average net sentiment score of -15.6%.

After Afrihost, Cool Ideas had the next highest sentiment score. Another top performer was MTN’s Supersonic, coming in at number three on Net Sentiment. Despite low overall volumes compared to competitors, social media engagement around Supersonic as a relatively new entrant generated positive interest in the fiber, DataEQ reported.

“Mweb and WebAfrica rank first and second. With the lowest scores, Mweb and WebAfrica showed a downward trend in Net Sentiment performance throughout the reporting period. The two ISPs also had the slowest response times on Twitter, with Mweb taking more than 20 hours longer than the industry average,” the group said.

“For WebAfrica, processing time and staff competence were the top complaint pain points, accounting for 57.3% and 34.9% of vendor complaints, respectively,” DataEQ said. “Mweb, on the other hand, struggled with uptime and network quality, accounting for 53.5% and 39.1% of complaints respectively.”

All six ISPs included in the study received net negative scores. However, top performers received significantly less negative sentiment than those at the bottom. In particular, the success of industry leader Afrihost was associated more with a low proportion of negative sentiment than a high proportion of positive sentiment.

“This points to a possible social strategy to keep complaints low through effective customer service rather than to entice positive mentions through branding efforts,” the group said.

The Sentiment Index closely matches other published network quality and customer satisfaction data Analytics, which found Cool Ideas to have the best Net Promoter Score and top customer satisfaction ratings. RSAWeb, Afrihost and Home Connect also performed well.

The research found that consumers are highly aware of how their provider performs in three key areas – price (value for money), network quality, support and billing.

Read: The best and worst mobile networks in South Africa – according to customers

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