FLEXING ITS MUSCLE NEOTEL’S FIRST DATA ONLY
service – Neoflex – is the product that South African homes and small businesses are expected to latch on to when it becomes available at end November. Though it’s problematic to change your telephone number, switching only your Internet connection is easier.
Neoflex – for the first time – also provides local networking and WiFi capabilities to Neotel’s CDMA product range, making it a direct competitor to ADSL. The 802,11 b/g Wi-Fi router (unfortunately, not the new, faster “N” spec) has built-in wireless security.
It’s easy to set up. Real easy. The product is pre-configured, so you literally just have to connect the router to a PC via a networking cable and off you go. A unique feature (perhaps essential feature, considering recent noises from Eskom) on the Neoflex device is its built-in battery that can supply up to 2,5 hours of operation during an electricity cut. Neotel says average download speeds of between 450Kbps and 900Kbps are achievable (from a maximum of 3,1Mbps), with typical upload speeds of 300Kbps to 700Kbps.
Testing in an area of Johannesburg with “excellent” coverage (according to the Neotel call centre) gave consistent download speeds above 1 500Kbps (hitting 2,2Mbps on one test) and half that on the uplink.
Pricing hasn’t been announced but should undercut its competition, particularly when it comes to monthly usage. The out-of-bundle rate remains at just 8c compared to cellular providers’ R1,20, so even if your cap is exceeded it won’t break the bank. Month-to-month and 24-month contracts will be available.