Neotel's handy little carphone

I finally know an actual Neotel customer – me! After four months in new offices without landlines, I took the plunge and bought a prepaid Neotel phone (on the left) for R399 from the shop at Menlyn Retail Park where the RICA process of showing an ID and proof of address was irritating but particularly quick. The phone comes with a 012 geographic (Pretoria) number and works on the Neotel CDMA cellular network which has reasonable coverage in Pretoria. There is no monthly fee for keeping the 012 number, which is great.

The phone actually works like a normal retro cellular phone and charges from a normal USB port, which is convenient. I cannot confirm it but I think that there is cell handover since I was able to sustain particularly long calls while driving through the city. The call rates are very inexpensive (compared to SA mobiles), essentially always slightly lower than calls from a Telkom landline which makes it a great option for calls to landlines and abroad especially. Due to what are supposedly ICASA restrictions, the phone simply stops working once it leaves Pretoria and in Johannesburg I was unable to make calls and incoming calls simply went to a “subscriber not available” message. It was slightly annoying that the phone's display showed the same network statistics that it showed while actually working in Pretoria! Frankly, Neotel seems a great option for many including those frequently calling the office, home or mom from the road. The device has a headset jack for those preferring handsfree use. The battery doesn't really last the day if use is intensive.

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