Neotel finally reaches KZN

2008-07-31 00:00

CONSUMERS in and around Durban will finally be able to reap the benefits of the introduction of South Africa’s second network operator following the launch of Neotel’s consumer services in Durban yesterday.

However, residents and small businesses in Pietermaritzburg will have to wait — probably until next year — in order to buy Neotel’s subscribers’ offering because the company will still be rolling out coverage in the greater Durban area over the next six months.

Although there are a number of packages, Neotel is essentially offering consumers a high-speed Internet access and a telephone service.

Neotel launched in South Africa two years ago and began securing deals with large enterprises.

Having been accused by some of remaining below the radar during this period, Neotel is now on a major publicity drive aimed at gaining subscribers.

Mukul Sharma, executive head of the consumer business unit at Neotel, told The Witness that coverage in and around the Durban area is growing daily.

He added that although there are plans to cover Pietermaritzburg, Neotel has not yet set a firm deadline.

The subscriber offering involves a simple setup procedure.

Although the telephone is used to make voice calls, it also links to the computer in order to enable Internet access.

The setup can be easily installed by the user. In addition, the phone is completely mobile and it can be moved for use around the entire home.

Neotel is using globally benchmarked CDMA2000 1x EV-DO technology, which is described as a converged platform, all-in-one consumer service.

For example, a package comprising high-speed Internet access (with a minimum of 2,5 gigabytes per month) and a voice-call (telephone) service will cost R399 per month on a 24-month contract.

The package includes 1 000 free on-net minutes, e-mail and 50 free SMSes.

Neotel’s high-speed Internet boasts an average speed of between 300 and 700 kilobytes per second.

The maximum speed is 2,4 megabytes per second.

The price of the phone (about R2 000) is incorporated into the monthly price.

A subscriber who wishes to exit the contract will simply need to pay the outstanding balance owed on the phone.

Durban is the last major metropolitan area that Neotel has reached since launching its consumer services in Johannesburg in May.

Consumers can contact Neotel’s current channel partner, Postnet, where activations are done in store or via its call centre at 0800 333 636, or online via the consumer portal at www.neotel.co.za .

kavith@witness.co.za

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