South Africa's Neotel targets 60,000 users in 9 months


South Africa's second fixed-line operator, Neotel, said on Thursday it plans to sign-up about 60,000 customers over the next nine months as it steps up its challenge to former monopoly Telkom. Neotel Managing Director Ajay Pandey said the company was aiming for 50,000 to 60,000 customers for its first consumer product -- NeoConnect Prime - over the next six to nine months.

Customers will sign a two-year contract for a wireless desk phone which acts as an integrated device to provide voice calls, Internet access, an email account and the ability to receive and send text messages.

It is likely to compete head on with similar products being offered by mobile operators, such as mobile internet connect cards. An integrated device and a 24-month NeoConnect Prime contract will cost 89 rand per month in rental fees.

Neotel, which aims to snatch 15 percent of former monopoly Telkom's fixed-line revenue in three to four years, launched its telephone and Internet services to corporate customers in March last year.

Five different NeoConnect Prime packages, ranging from entry level product offering 2.5 giga-bytes to a package for unlimited Internet access, will be offered in Johannesburg and Pretoria.