Neotel raises the bar

2010-10-16 00:00

CONSUMERS have felt ripped off for many years, and understandably so. Prices for telecommunication services (both voice and data) have been much higher than in other parts of the world.

There have been promises of competition for years. The entry of Neotel offered much hope. But with (unnecessarily) complicated products and pricing, it hasn’t (yet) gained traction with consumers.

Neotel’s new consumer offerings hope to change that. Gone are the multitude of products and in their place some straightforward options. It’s standardised its pricing across both prepaid and postpaid services, with free Neotel to Neotel calls from 6 pm to 7 am (and all day on weekends and public holidays).

While not strictly fixed-line (i.e. it doesn’t rely on copper to connect users), consumers still tend to compare Neotel’s products with your standard Telkom (fixed) phone-line service.

For consumers needing to check e-mail, its new NeoConnect Prime 99 is an attractive, cost-effective option. For R99 per month, you get 500 MB of data and 500 SMSes per month bundled. Voice calls are extra, but you won’t be spending hundreds of rands — landline calls are 57 cents per minute (33 cents off-peak) and cellphonecalls R1,37 per minute (R1,09 off-peak).

Neotel’s products targeted to voice users are even better value. Its prepaid services start at a flat R399 for the handset. Recharge cards (in R20, R50, R100 and R200 denominations) will work out to be a bargain, given those per-minute rates and there is no monthly service fee.

Telkom’s new Simple product targeted at new subscribers is a bargain compared with its existing phone and ADSL pricing, offering consumers a single bill for converged services.

For R369 per month, Telkom Simple offers new customers a landline (including rental) with free calls during evenings and weekends, a 384 kbps (entry level) ADSL subscription, 1 GB of blended data (plus 10 GB local-only bandwidth), as well as a free ADSL modem if you sign a 24-month contract.

Think about how this price compares with a separate monthly line rental and ADSL access fee. Those two together will cost you R285,30 (R133,30 + R152). For a similar product, you’ll pay R532 per month (same ADSL and data, together with line rental and 1 300 inclusive minutes). That means Telkom Simple is nearly R200 cheaper and the only thing you’re not getting is a staggering number of bundled minutes.

On Telkom Simple (and on all the operator’s other products) you’re able to purchase “top-up” data if you do run out. Data is available at R69 per GB (unshaped), R49 per GB (shaped) or R15 (local only). Its pricing is, however, a little steeper than other ISPs. So what you could end up doing is topping up with another service provider and then using that data when your Telkom allowance runs out.

This offer is serious value for money.

Now bring on Telkom’s cellphone operator and let’s have some more competition in that space. Cell C’s moves have been a good start, and competition between Vodacom and MTN has definitely increased.

— Moneyweb.

 

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