Why FNB SIM-locks its ConeXis smartphones

Following the recent launch of its new ConeXis X2 and ConeXis A2 smartphones, many potential customers have asked why the bank has SIM-locked the devices.

FNB has locked the new smartphones to FNB Connect, its mobile virtual network that runs on Cell C.

If you insert a SIM from Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, or Telkom into a ConeXis device, it will not be able connect to that network.

Once a device is paid off, FNB said it provides an unlock code to let you use any SIM in the device. Clients may choose to pay off devices sooner than the prescribed 24-month period, said FNB.

Why the SIM-lock?

FNB said it SIM-locks its ConeXis devices to its mobile network so it can offer them at lower prices.

Part of the value proposition to FNB clients is that they can purchase the new smartphones at greatly-reduced prices via the eBucks rewards system.

To offer the devices at these prices, FNB said it had to lock them to its network. This suggests the bank’s commercial model for the devices takes revenue it makes from subscribers on FNB Connect into account.

FNB said it debated whether to continue SIM-locking the ConeXis range, but felt it was able to offer a better experience this way.

The specifications of the FNB ConeXis X2 and A2 are summarised below.

FNB ConeXis Smartphones

Specifications ConeXis X2 ConeXis A2
Dimensions 143.5 x 70 x 8.9 mm / 140g 136.5 x 68.1 x 9.6 mm / 152g
OS Android 7 Android 7
Display 5.0″ HD (720 x 1,280) IPS 4.5″ (854 x 480)
Processor Qualcomm Octa-core (1.4GHz x4 + 1.1GHz x4) ARM Cortex-A7 Quad-core
Rear camera 13MP + 2MP 5MP
Front camera 5MP 2MP
Storage 32GB + MicroSD 128GB 8GB + MicroSD 32GB
Battery 2,800mAh 2,000mAh
Connectivity Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, MicroUSB Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, MicroUSB
Cellular data LTE Cat. 4 3G
Biometrics Fingerprint
NFC FNB Pay, Tap-and-pay

Now read: How to get FNB’s new smartphones for free

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Why FNB SIM-locks its ConeXis smartphones