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Neotel claims affordable home phone

Neotel has launched a home phone service for South African consumers with local peak rates to all landlines at almost half the price consumers are currently paying. The service uses Neotel’s CDMA wireless network. However, claims of crystal-clear quality will depend on where and when a call is made.

Neotel has launched a home phone service for consumers with local peak rates to all landlines at almost half the price consumers are currently paying. The service uses Neotel’s state-of-the-art‚ CDMA network, which the company claims has crystal-clear voice quality.

However, this will be very much a factor of how close the consumer is to a Neotel base station, and how heavily congested the network in their area is at any given time.

‚We believe that we have hit the nail on the head with this product, particularly in light of the current economic conditions,‚ says Mukul Sharma, Executive Head of the Consumer Business Unit at Neotel. ‚Consumers are feeling the pinch of global and local economic pressures and are continuously looking to save costs, but still stay in touch.‚

The Neotel coverage map released earlier this year

Neotel’s home phone is available in two packages. The first allows the consumer to purchase the phone upfront for R599 (incl. VAT) with a monthly service fee of R99.

‚During the course of 24 months, a usage discount of up to R25, will be given back to the consumer every month, This effectively means that consumers could be reimbursed for the full purchase price of the phone,‚ Sharma says.

The second package does not require upfront payment for the phone and is charged at R199 per month.

‚On this package users receive 1000 free Neotel-to-Neotel minutes and 200 free SMSs within Neotel’s coverage area. The free minutes are applicable for local, regional and national calls. In essence, calls between Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, will effectively be free.‚

However, it is highly unlikely customers will be able to use up the “free”” Neotel-to-Neotel minutes in the early years of the network, as the majority of people they call will be on other networks, so this should nopt be viewed as a significant element of the bundle – even at double that allocation!

On the plus side, all packages operate on true per second billing, for all calls, from the first second onwards. These packages are pending ICASA approval.

A key differentiator of Neotel’s home phone is the call rates.

‚At 34 cents per minute for local peak landline calls, and 17 cents per minute for local off peak landline calls, communicating will become more affordable for the consumer,‚ he adds. There is no differentiation between Neotel-to-Neotel peak and off peak rates, which are charged at 17 cents per minute for local calls at all times.

‚Neotel’s home phone is a home phone that offers impeccable voice quality, delivery within 48 hours of successful order completion and no installation required,‚ says Sharma. Consumers can order the product via the Neotel Contact Centre (0800 333 636), or from partner outlets.

A further benefit of the home phone is that the service is delivered via a fixed-wireless product. ‚This eliminates the risk of losing your service due to copper theft,‚ he says.

‚While the product focuses on providing consumers with high quality voice, they also have the option of utilising data, sms and email, which is provided as part of the service,‚ Sharma concludes.

About Neotel:

Neotel is South Africa’s first converged communications network operator. It provides a range of value-added voice and data services for businesses, wholesale network operators and providers and consumers using its pure-IP Next Generation Network, powered by Neotel’s high-performance fibre optic backbone. Neotel connects the major centres in South Africa to each other and to the world, directly linking the country into Tata Communications global Tier 1 network. Neotel offers fresh thinking, a creative approach and flexible solutions for communications in South Africa.

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