Finweek English Edition - - BUSINESS TRENDS - THOMAS MAREE

LET’S FACE IT, In­ter­net prices in South Africa are ridicu­lous and the con­nec­tions are slow to boot. My mis­sion was to find out what new­com­ers Neo­tel had to of­fer and see whether it could chal­lenge tele­com gi­ants MWEB and Telkom.

When di­alling Neo­tel’s call cen­tre you’re greeted with an au­to­mated re­sponse thank­ing you for call­ing. My call was then im­me­di­ately an­swered – ac­ci­den­tally. I tuned in to lis­ten to the ca­sual ban­ter of the call cen­tre em­ploy­ees dis­cussing their plans for the evening. I was briefly amused but the nov­elty soon wore off and I hung up to call again.

The sec­ond time I called I was greeted with the same au­to­mated re­sponse but then told all op­er­a­tors were cur­rently busy and my call would be an­swered as soon as one be­came avail­able. I burst out laugh­ing.

Af­ter wait­ing for more than two min­utes, which seems an eter­nity when lis­ten­ing to the easy-lounge-call-cen­tre­jazz, my call was fi­nally an­swered by the po­lite and com­pe­tent Sa­muel. He an­swered all my ques­tions, rang­ing from dif­fer­ent speeds and prices to whether Neo­tel used cop­per or fi­bre op­tic ca­bles. I was im­pressed.

Neo­tel claims to of­fer unique prod­ucts other ser­vice providers don’t, with mo­bil­ity and func­tion­al­ity ex­tremely ap­peal­ing.

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