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New phone for the old

Vodacom has announced the Vodafone 155, a mobile handset specifically designed for the elderly.

The handset is also suitable for customers with low vision, hearing loss or limited dexterity.

It’s often challenging for older people to keep up with technology while having to deal with vision, hearing and other health related problems. The Vodafone 155 was designed to help simplify the mobile communication experience for these customers. It has a big button keypad, noise cancellation technology, extra loud volume and it is compatible with hearing aids. The handset also has an emergency SOS button to alert people nearby and to trigger calls or text messages to four pre-designated numbers stored on the phone.

‚”We started providing accessible products and services for people with specific needs in 2004, and since then, we’ve launched products for the blind, partially sighted, the elderly and hearing impaired customers so that they can also experience the benefits of mobile technology,‚” says Phil Patel, Chief Consumer Officer at Vodacom.

Patel added ‚”We’re excited about the launch of Vodafone 155 which is designed to enhance the mobile communication experience of people with specific needs. For example, the SOS emergency feature helps to provide peace of mind for customers and users who are concerned about the wellbeing of their elderly friends or relatives.‚”

The Vodafone 155 is available on a Top Up 49 at R39 per month. This 24 month contract includes the handset and R49 worth of airtime per month. The recommended selling price on prepaid is R399 and includes a starter pack. Prepaid pricing may vary at the retail outlets.

The Vodafone 155 is now available from Vodacom outlets. To place an order, customers can also contact Vodacom Direct at 082 1950 or dial 1950 free from a Vodacom cellphone. For more details customers can call the Specific Needs Contact Centre at 12580 free from a Vodacom phone or 082 12580 from any other phone. Customer can also send an e-mail to or send an SMS to 12580.


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Phone with 60-day battery

Mi-Fone has announced an affordable smartphone that it says offers up to 60 days of battery life when in standby mode.

Many Africans want to access the Internet but cannot afford a smartphone. In addition, the greatest challenge experienced with smartphone users is that the battery runs out quickly.

In a bid to provide solutions to these challenges, Mi-Fone the first African mobile devices brand has launched the Mi3000 model. This is Africa’s first smart phone with a 60-day battery standby time and using EDGE connectivity.

The Mi 3000 handset boasts a candy bar design with a 2.8‚” touch screen and keypad. Just like all other Mi-Fone handsets, the Mi 3000 also comes with Mi-Apps with some free content that can be downloaded, and Opera Mini as default browser. Other features include a phone directory to store up to 1 000 contacts, 1GB of on-board memory and 256MB RAM.

Commenting on the new entrant in the market, Mi-Fone CEO Alpesh Patel said that the Mi 3000 has the upper hand of long battery life, which is one of the greatest challenges for most competing brands.

‚”A lot of consumers are using their device to access the Internet and resource hungry applications, which in tern quickly drains the battery. The Mi 3000 addresses these concerns in a cost effective manner.‚”

Mi-Fone has already differentiated itself from other low-cost handset manufacturers with its focus on music, local talent and its new ‚”Mi-Apps Java‚” store. This will be instrumental in linking the acquisition of local music in capturing revenue streams, which are often lost to piracy.

The Mi 3000 also comes packed with a list of additional features including a 2.75GHz processor, dual-SIM support, a 2MP camera and Bluetooth connectivity.


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Airtime for apps

Vodacom and Research In Motion have announced that Vodacom customers in South Africa can buy apps on the BlackBerry App World by charging the transaction to their contract or prepaid account.

The new billing service will enable Vodacom customers to buy apps with a seamless experience. Vodacom customers will also be offered the flexibility of charging in-app purchases to their regular bill or deducting the costs from their prepaid account, which allows digital goods to be purchased without interrupting the app experience.

‚”We have worked closely with RIM to make this functionality available for our BlackBerry smartphone customers. Once again, Vodacom is improving the customer experience by unlocking the power of its network and services,‚” said Prins Mhlanga, Managing Executive of Vodacom Digital Media.

‚”We’re delighted that Vodacom’s BlackBerry smartphone customers will be able to purchase apps on BlackBerry App World and conveniently charge them to their regular phone bill from Vodacom. By working closely with Vodacom, we are able to offer customers easier access to tens of thousands of apps ranging from productivity to entertainment,‚” said Bob Bose, Regional Managing Director at RIM.

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