What is NeoConnect?
NeoConnect is Neotel’s range of wireless services targeted at consumers and small businesses. It is based on CDMA2000, one of the global 3G wireless standards. NeoConnect offers voice calls, SMS and Internet access in a single service.
NeoConnect Prime provides voice, SMS and high performance Internet access with peak download speed of 2.4 Mbps (300 – 700 kbps average).
NeoConnect Lite provides voice, SMS and Internet access with peak speeds of 153 kbps (average speed similar to dial-up).
Full details of these services are available at:
What Internet speeds can I expect with NeoConnect?
NeoConnect Prime has a peak download speed of 2.4 Mbps, but the average experience will be in the range of 300 to 700 kbps. The peak upload speed is 153 kbps, with the average around 60 kbps. Overall, the performance is similar to what you can expect from technologies like HSDPA.
NeoConnect Lite has peak speeds of 153 kbps in both directions, and is an always-on alternative to dial-up.
Speeds on Neotel’s network are fairly consistent whether local or international, since the Neotel network is connected to Tata Communications global Tier 1 network in Jo’burg, and is directly connected to all the other major ISPs locally.
You can check your download and upload speed directly on Neotel's core network on http://speedtest.neotel.co.za
Where is NeoConnect available?
NeoConnect is available in Jo’burg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban. It can be purchased directly from Neotel’s consumer call centre on 0800 333 NEO (0800 333 636), online via the Neotel web site, or via one of our channels (PostNet, Autopage, Samsung).
The most up to date information on NeoConnect coverage is available from the call centre, or from one of our channels (PostNet, Autopage, Samsung). On request, they will tell you if a particular address has coverage.
Every serious enquiry about NeoConnect is logged, and is plotted on a target coverage map used in planning. So if you don’t have coverage, and you really want it, get all your neighbours interested as well.
Is there a coverage map available for NeoConnect? Will Neotel update it on the website as areas go live?
An online map is available at: https://salesportal.neotel.co.za/web/guest/home
The map is updated as new sites are added, typically once a week.
It’s been reported that there is coverage outside the claimed boundaries? Is this so?
Yes, but not guaranteed, and not necessarily with the promised speeds. The cells in CDMA networks “breathe” – they shrink as they get more loaded. Neotel only promises coverage and sells the service where there will continue to be good coverage in future.
Note that the coverage for NeoConnect Lite and NeoFlex Voice (1X) is generally much wider than that for NeoConnect Prime (EV-DO) and NeoFlex Data (EV-DO Rev A), just as with any other network with high and low speeds. NeoConnect Prime and NeoFlex Data will fall back to the lower (1X) speed in poorer coverage areas.
Does the service need to be installed? Will it work anywhere?
NeoConnect uses wireless devices that do not need any installation, and will work anywhere where there is coverage within a city. The devices are battery powered, and can be used for several hours without recharging, and have a standby time of several days, just like mobile phones.
Will a NeoConnect device work in another city (in another area code)?
Neotel’s fixed mobile service is offered within code areas, and not across multiple area codes. Each NeoConnect service has a geographic number associated with its area (e.g. 011, 012, 021, 031).
What packages are available and what do they cost?
NeoConnect is available in a range of packages including voice calls, SMS and Internet, from a cap of 2.5GB to uncapped. Full details of pricing is on the Neotel website Consumer pages as above, and summarised in the following article:
Is NeoConnect available as prepaid as well as on contract?
Not currently. Neotel has indicated an intention to offer a prepaid service in future, but no such service is yet available.
What do voice calls cost on Neotel’s network?
A comparison of Neotel’s voice rates can be found in the following article:
Note that Neotel’s out-of-bundle voice call prices are lower than Telkom’s for all call types (mobile and fixed, including calls to Telkom itself), and all calls are billed per second. On-net calls (calls to businesses or consumers on the Neotel network) are substantially cheaper. Out-of-bundle SMSs are much cheaper than on mobile networks.
These prices apply to Enterprise voice services (NeoVoice) as well as to out-of-bundle minutes on NeoConnect.
What calls are “on-net” on Neotel? What is the use of the free on-net minutes?
On-net calls include all calls to Neotel phones, including NeoConnect subscribers, as well as all of the businesses using the NeoVoice enterprise service. Neotel’s is also the only network that has on-net calls between wireline and nomadic wireless subscribers.
As Neotel’s consumer and business customer base grows, more and more calls will be on-net, and the value of free on-net minutes will grow. Get your friends all to buy NeoConnect, and you’ll see.
Apparently, subscribers are required to pay a deposit, but there is no mention of this in any of the publicity. Does this apply to all subscribers? Why is it not mentioned up front?
Neotel’s pricing guide reflects the basic package and fee structure and there are no hidden costs. Neotel has partnered with TransUnion ITC for credit verification. A combination of customer information, held at TransUnion ITC, and the internal Neotel credit policies is applied at application stage. Certain customers may be required to submit a security deposit. This is a standard practice in the industry and is in line with all of the necessary regulation that governs the industry. The security deposit is refunded to the customer should he/she wish to terminate services at any stage.
If you sign up for NeoConnect Lite, is there an upgrade path to NeoConnect Prime while keeping the same contract?
The NeoConnect service is enabled by the NeoConnect device. In order to upgrade your service from NeoConnect Lite to NeoConnect Prime, you will need to contact the Neotel Contact Centre (0800 333 636) to update your billing and service information, as well as upgrade your device to the NeoConnect device.
What telephone numbers does Neotel use?
Neotel uses normal geographic telephone numbers (011, 021, 031 etc), similar to Telkom’s.
Can I keep my Telkom number when I switch to Neotel?
Not yet. Geographic Number Portability is mandated by ICASA, but it requires co-ordination between operators, and is not yet available. Neotel is making every effort to make it available as soon as possible.
If Neotel and Telkom numbers are similar, how can I tell which network I’m calling?
It’s not immediately obvious from a telephone number which network it is on. However, Neotel does have a distinctive ring-back tone, somewhat different to Telkom (Call anyone on the Neotel network if you want to hear it e.g. Neotel’s head office number 011 5850000).
Can I use the Internet and make a phone call at the same time?
When you make or receive a phone call on NeoConnect Prime, your Internet connection is suspended (not dropped) until you hang up the phone call. This is a result of the technology used, and is not just an oversight. Whilst this limitation is as not as severe as on dial-up, where one would have to wait a while for a dial-up connection every time, Neotel is fully aware of users’ concerns, and is looking at ways to address this in future products.
The NeoConnect Prime device is not really intended for use in offices with multiple computer and phone users. In an office that would normally have multiple lines, multiple devices could be used, but there will be alternatives (see question on SMME products below).
Does Neotel have NeoConnect products available for SMMEs?
Whilst NeoConnect Prime, and NeoConnect Lite can be used in a very small office or at home, they are best suited to an environment with a single computer, and where only one voice line is required.
Neotel has launched NeoFlex services targeted at SMEs and similar higher end users. NeoFlex Data has Ethernet and WiFi to support multiple users on a LAN or Wireless LAN, and NeoFlex Voice can be used to connect a PABX.
Is NeoConnect Prime broadband?
Neotel doesn’t call its 2.4 Mbps NeoConnect Prime service broadband. It refers instead to high-speed Internet. However, by this definition, many of the other so-called “broadband” offerings in South Africa, such as HSDPA and iBurst are not broadband either. The typical performance of NeoConnect Prime is similar to other advanced 3G services, since it’s based on similar technology.
How many subscribers does Neotel currently have?
Neotel has not yet published any subscriber numbers, but is targeting around 60000 customers within 18 months of launch, as the coverage is extended to multiple cities.
Further FAQs: http://www.neotel.co.za/neotel/view/neotel/en/page49595