Neotel is the lead competitor (and new kid on the block) to South Africa’s largest telecommunications company; Telkom, who up until a couple years ago, had monopolized the telecoms market. Competition is generally perceived as a good thing, providing the consumer with an alternative and as a result I decided to give Neotel the benefit-of-the-doubt and see if they could deliver. As a result, my Neotel experience lasted under 24 hours…
Internet in South Africa is extremely expensive and most ISPs (like Telkom) in the country offer capped packages (1GB, 5GB, 10GB and so forth), so you can imagine the attraction to a company that is offering uncapped internet that undercuts their competition. Neotel currently offers two uncapped packages for home users; NeoConnect Lite 469 @ R469 p/m ($62.74) and NeoConnect Prime Unlimited (high-speed) @ R999 p/m ($133.65). The Neotel website has a coverage checker in order to see whether or not your area is covered by their network. Unfortunately, my area doesn’t support high-speed internet so I had to opt for the NeoConnect Lite 469 package and at R469 per month for uncapped internet it sounded like a damn good deal. Sadly, I was mistaken.
When I first expressed interest in Neotel, there were a number of questions that I needed to be answered and after browsing several forums things like; “By default, Neotel blocks all ports for security reasons and you need to request which ports you wish to be opened” began to pop up. So I decided to email Neotel and to their credit they did actually respond the first time however when I had other questions I was simply ignored, but no matter I reasoned, they’re a large company and probably receive plenty of mail on a daily basis. ‘Luckily’ there were Neotel promoters in my local mall and I took the opportunity to approach them and ask my questions.
I initially spoke to two guys who seemed to be quite knowledgeable but in actuality they were bullshit artists who didn’t have any technical knowledge to speak of and were just desperately trying to sign people up. The one thing that isn’t really advertised on the Neotel site is the connection speeds of their packages, now I’m currently on a 384kbps wireless package which gives me a transfer speed of 48KB/sec (painfully slow by international standards but at least it’s uncapped) so I made it very clear to these two cock stains that I needed a faster connection speed and thus a faster transfer speed than my current solution. The first thing they told me was that my area was in fact covered for high-speed internet which I found strange since Neotel hadn’t been in my area ripping up pavement to lay down fiber-optic cable like in other areas and especially since I had done a recent coverage check that stated that my house/area wasn’t covered.
Well, after countless reassurances, I decided to sign up with Neotel after they told me that the package would be much faster than my current solution, with transfer speeds peaking at 156KB/sec placing the connection at just over 1Mbps. However, the two cunt-rags either didn’t know the difference between line speed and transfer rate, or opted to lie in order to secure a customer. However, the bullshit didn’t end there, after repeating myself countless times during the sign up phase (in order to ensure that all my personal information was correct) they still managed to completely fuck up almost all of my information. When I received the FWT (Fixed Wireless Terminal) almost a week later, the welcome note and the ‘customer application form’ had gotten the following information wrong;
- My surname was misspelled
- My marital status was listed as ‘Married (Community of Property), oh really? Well that’s news to me, does Neotel supply single customers with spouses along with their shitty service?
- My residential/delivery address was incorrect, and in fact I still got a call a day after signing up from a cheerful-sounding woman who read out the wrong address over the phone, after I corrected her I asked her to do a coverage check and wouldn’t you know it, MY AREA WASN”T COVERED FOR HIGH-SPEED INTERNET AFTERALL, it took her one minute to tell me that. So to the guy who did the initial coverage check, I will punch you in the fucking dick if I ever see your face again.
- The employer’s name of my work, as well as my monthly gross income, and period at current employer were all incorrect to boot.
- And finally, the real kicker, they managed to get my email address wrong, I opted to receive the monthly bill via email, how in the fuck did they intend on billing me?! I probably would have received a phone call from one of their admin monkeys stating that I missed the monthly payment due.
Unbeknown to me at the time, I set up the FWT which ironically needs to be plugged into your PC via USB and proceeded to set up the device on my computer which is running Windows 7 Ultimate Edition, but wouldn’t you know it, the FWT would not initialize the setup software so that you can actually USE THE FUCKING INTERNET. So after literally spending several hours on the phone with the god-forsaken technical support (and I was disconnected twice initially mid-conversation, forcing me to start from the beginning each time), one guy suggested that I downgrade to Windows XP (an eight year old platform!) because and I quote; “Neotel uses new software/hardware that has been known to give problems on Vista and Win 7.”
One person I spoke to repeatedly asked whether or not I had received a black USB cable with the FWT as it is the Windows 7 compatible cable (wtf?) and I was asked repeatedly if my operating system was in fact the 32-bit version as apparently 64-bit platforms have compatibility issues too. At this point I was rather fed up and asked if they could send a technical guy to my house to sort out the problem to which they replied; “I spoke to the technical guys and they said they definitely can’t, as the problem is clearly with your version of Windows 7.” My version…THE FUCKING RETAIL VERSION OF WINDOWS 7 ULTIMATE EDITION!! Eventually after uninstalling Win 7 and reinstalling my copy of Vista Ultimate I managed to get the FWT working and I was connected to the net. My single driving force for going through all that shit was that I’d have fast, uncapped internet until I saw that I was getting an average download speed of 49kbps (6.1KB/sec transfer speed). That’s right, the Neoconnect Lite Unlimited package has a peak download speed of 156kbps and not the promised 156KB per second transfer rate. No wonder the package is uncapped, at an average transfer rate at around 6KB/sec and peak speeds of around 16KB/s you’d be hard-pressed to use 10GB of bandwidth, in fact it was so bad that I had to run Gmail in basic HTML in order to get it to load and even then it was struggling.
The very next day at around 07:00 am, I phoned Neotel and terminated my service. Neotel is a poorly managed, misleading service with inept staff who should be taken behind a chemical shed and shot through the back of the skull with hollow points. I will never do business with that company ever after that experience and I warn every person who is interested in the service to steer clear and rather stick with Telkom or an independent wireless ISP.
Ahhh, damn. I was so getting excited about our driveway being obliterated to lay down optics…
Hope the services gets up’d. Would’nt want to do my online gaming at a whopping 6KB’s. That’s just rude.
Good review! Thanks!
Thank you for making my day, I continually laughed at your review for 20min till I was drowning in tears. Truly exceptionally excellent piece of writing and thank you for exposing neotell since i was considering them. All the best and hope you found a reliable isp
Thanks man, glad you enjoyed the article (I sure as hell enjoyed writing it), I decided to stick with my current ISP and because uncapped internet solutions have begun to pop up all over the place my ISP upgraded my connection somewhat enabling 1mb bursts so I’m quite happy. As for those Neotel fucks, they were still harassing me up until a couple of months ago even though I terminated my service and their shitty ‘fixed wireless terminal’ is still sitting in my cupboard…
Who you’re using now. I laughed my balls off as well by the way. But those fuckers walking around each night steal telkoms copper line every single 2 weeks…. So I am forced to find something else, but your mail really scared me off going to Neotel
I have a complaint against Neotel set out as follows.
Here is a copy of my complaint sent to the CEO of neotel.
On the 02nd July 2010 I went to your website and applied for
a NeoConnect Lite telephone. On the same day I received a telephone
call and was informed that my application was successful and the phone would
delivered to me via courier. I was also told that I must hand over the
to the courier.
1. Certified copy of my ID.
2. Proof of Residence.
3. 3 months bank statements.
On the 8th July the courier delivered the phone to me and I handed him the
Unfortunatley, I did not let the courier sign receipt for the documents.
Upon receipt of the phone I found I could not make or receive phone calls.
The next day, Friday 9th 2010, I contacted your offices and was told that
did not hand over my documents to Neotel and that is the reason why the
phone is not activated.
This cost me to again go to the bank to get 3 months bank statements.
Visit the police station again to obtain a certified copy of my ID.
This time your office told me I could fax the documents.
Why was I not told I could fax the documents in the first place?
Then I would not have given it to the courier.
I faxed the documents various number of times
but was informed it was not received by neotel.
Eventually someone from neotel told me to email the documents which I did
and neotel confirmed receipt of them.
However, my phone is not yet activated.
Could you please advise what is the reason for the delay?
Or when can I expect the phone to be activated?
Or what steps do I have to undertake to get this phone activated?
The best piece of advice I could give you, is to terminate your subscription with Neotel and go with another ISP. Neotel is a poorly managed company populated with inept staff and there doesn’t seem to be any communication between the employees as if you make a request or something, no one ever knows anything about it. Besides, the NeoConnect Lite package is a ripoff, you’re better off with MWEB, Telkom or Afrihost. No clue on when your phone will be activated but you may be waiting for a while…
This is an update to my complaint dated 10 July 2010. I repeatedly called neotel to find out when my phone would be activated. Unfortunately no one was able to help and as a result I cancelled my account. Even Telkom isn’t as bad as neotel. I currently have an ADSL account with Telkom and in the 4 yrs since have never had any problems with Telkom. My ADSL line was always repaired within 72 hours from the time I logged the fault. I decided to stick with Telkom. Good riddance to neotel.
Inept is the right word. There are guys in Neotel who know what is going on, but they are so busy they need a 50 hour day to attend to all the bugger-ups that the rest of the staff make. Example: I want to connect my Neotel service to a Fixed Celluar Router, a device made in Pretoria by a firm who supply 1000 a month to Neotel. No-one at N sales had heard of such a thing, I was assured by N’s techie in Jhb that what I wanted to do was impossible. Since he had not heard of this co making this device, it did not exist. I offered him their telephone no, but he was not interested, he kept repeating that his advice was what mattered. In the end, I had to get the device myself, program it myself and do all N’s work for them, since no-one there knew what to do.
You are absolutely right about Neotel, I have had my own horror experience with them from delivery to activation, you are not alone, there are millions of people being mistreated by this company and they get away with it, they do not react until they are threatened with criminal cases of fraud to be opened against them. However, you mention 10GB, well fact is that no other service provided in this country can offer the same uncapped or as you state 10GB at R469 per month using only a wireless device, Iburst charges more double that amount for the same quantity (then who cares about the speed for the same quantity???)
It all depends what you need internet for. Neotel Lite 469 unlimited is the cheapest internet for sole download available without a telkom line but you cannot use it for surfing etc. There you need to get Cell C’s 4G. I dare you to find a cheaper service (uncapped) using no telkom line than Neotel. You can get very fast uncapped adsl with a telkom line for less than R200 per month but you need telkom. People such as myself who live in newly built developments where telkom may one day have coverage have to suffer the brunt of the highest paid rate for internet usage in the world. That is why Neotel 469 is the best package for downloading together with another very fast package like Cell C’s 4G for surfing until telkom arrives, then we can get cheap fast internet again. THIS IS AFRICA NOT AMERICA, IN AFRICA ONLY DARKNESS RULE. Keep that in mind.
Wireless ISPs are the way to go, I use one – cheaper than Neotel 469 Lite or Cell C’s 4G, faster speeds, no Telkom and it’s uncapped (I download waaayyyy more than a measly 10GB per month).
Which wireless ISP do you use?
Vlocity Solutions, unfortunately the ISP no longer seems to take private users, opting for businesses instead. I got in when they were a relatively small company.
More info: http://www.vlocity.co.za/
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!! You have just saved me from making a big mistake!!! by the way, big ups on the ‘wording’ i’ve never heard of “cock stains” and “cunt-rags” before lol! great post.
Thanks lol, I had to come up with different words to describe my hate for them.
lol. didnt tick subscribe.
It doesn’t tell you the usage and they can con you!
Your story sounds shockingly familiar. Let me share my pathetic Neotel story with you:
I applied for their service at a promotion they had at a mall. A few days later, 4 Dec 2009, my package was delivered to my work (ie. the modem/handset, contract etc). That evening I looked over the paperwork and discovered that my name was misspelled, my address was wrong, etc etc. Worst of all though, when I looked at my copy of the contract, I realized that it was completely wrong!!! Get this….contract they made me sign was a “Pilot Service Agreement” to test their service, and it was a FREE service!!!
Anyway, I had similar problems trying to set up and connect. Calls to Neotel technical support were fruitless as I couldn’t even get through to speak to anyone. When I finally did manage to set up the connection, I realized the speeds were even slower than dial-up…I mean pages were actually timing out!!
A few days later, 8 Dec 2009, I got fed up and decided to cancel the contract (ie. within the cooling-off period…bearing in mind that there actually wasn’t a contract), and I emailed them (using my iBurst service) to that effect…oh and I also mentioned in this email that they should arrange to get their modem/handset back). Response from Neotel…NONE.
Then on 30 Jan 2010 (more than a month later) they send me a statement showing a balance of R450 made up of 2 invoices: R300 for Nov 09 service charges (yes NOVEMBER…even though I’d only signed up in December), and R150 for December charges. I immediately queried this and forwarded my previous email to them. Response from Neotel…An email simply to confirm that the account was cancelled on 26 Dec 2009. Nothing else.
Then 8 months later (Sep 2010) out of the blue I get another statement showing the same R450 balance. So, I send them another email essentially to “KAK them out”. Response from Neotel…an email saying they can’t reverse the balance because according to their records I STILL HAVE THEIR DEVICE!!!!
My next move then was to forward them my original email where I advised them make arrangements to get their device, and I told them that since they failed to do this, I’m charging them R30 per month storage fees starting from 1 month after I cancelled the contract.
A few days later a lady from Neotel phoned me and gave me a different explanation for the R450 balance…saying they can only credit R200 due to calls that were made. Anyway, I basically told her to stuff it and that what she said contradicts their invoices.
I haven’t had any contact with Neotel again but in October 2010 I discovered that they had reported negatively on my credit profile…showing R450 as overdue from Aug 2010 onwards. What I had to do then was to lodge a dispute with the Credit Information Ombud (first having to go through Experian and Transunion).
3 Months later (Feb 2011) the Ombudsman reported back to me and read out Neotel’s response: Neotel confirms that there is NO service agreement between myself and them because the signed service contract is incorrect. Neotel confirms that R450 balance is incorrect and there is nothing owing to them, and that this should be removed from my credit profile. Neotel undertakes to pay me R500 as a gesture.
Wait!…that isn’t the end of the story.
The VERY NEXT DAY I received a letter of demand via email from Macroberts Attorneys for R450 owed to their client, Neotel!!!
Obviously, I replied…pointing out Neotel’s response to the ombudsman, and I basically told Macroberts that I reject their demand and to tell their client to go F#$! themselves.
A few weeks later I received another urgent demand, this time via sms. I chose to ignore it.
It’s been quiet since…
I am looking for a good internet connection for my house that is affordable. Your review makes me think twice about Neotel. Dou you have any other suggestions?
Whatever you do, don’t use Neotel. Neotel is worse than Telkom, especially as far as customer service is concerned. We struggled for a year with “a problem in our area” that never really got resolved. After a year of struggling with a useless connection, we decided to get a telkom ADSL line instead (which works perfectly)….However after cancelling our Neotel contract in September we are still being billed and have a debit order being deducted on a monthly basis, even after speaking to the Cancellations manager, Antonio, and being promised that we would be refunded. We just received our latest bill, and needless to say, theres been no refund!
Neotel are just not interested in private consumers. I have had a debit order go off my account for 17 months (in between bank stops) and when I showed the Neotel clerk the bank statement, she said they were credits, not debits since there was a minus sign in front. She admitted that she knew nothing about book-keeping and accounting and did not know what she was looking at. N owe me R 17000 so far with no end in sight
Damn, 17k…that’s one worst Neotel experiences I’ve heard of, hope you hound them for that cash!
i had the very same trouble ….like what you all experienced…for shure their speed sucks….reception fails…service is slow and the line is bad..and they try ways of ripping you off expecially when you decide to leave…oooh yeah…trust me on that one…been there…only ..never got the t shirt….
For 3 years now we have had nothing but horrific service from them, no resolutions to an on going problem of calls dropping, bad reception etc etc etc. Everybody promises to come back to us yet nothing happens?
Further to my comment dated 29 Dec, I engaged a lawyer to recover the excess charges.
N’s answer: We did not receive a termination request or the person who received it did not action it and no longer works in that department. Then they said they can only refund into the account from which the debits were made (since closed).
It takes 6 to 10 weeks for N to answer letters or emails. Summons was issued on 3rd July. Their legal department said this action was “excessive” but declined to advise how else it could be resolved. Am promised refund by the end of this month. So far legal costs R 3450,00.
Interesting read. It has helped me make a decision, where I had a dilemma about buying a Neotel prepaid mobile land line. Not only is it disappointing to find out that the data sim card can not be used in any other device such as laptop dongle, It also needs to be in an area of coverage, so what’s the point in have 24 gigs to expire after 6 months, if you have to go all the way to Cape town where there is coverage. Or as an alternative, why not allow their smart phones to use data from other networks, that way, the coverage problem would be less frustrating?I Love your choice of words by the way. You couldn’t have said it better.
I realise you posted this a long time ago, but I thought I would add my two cents anyway. Let me start by saying I thoroughly enjoyed reading your Neotel story, I had a laugh and I really do understand your frustration. This is exactly how I feel about Telkom! I have had no working internet or telephone line for two weeks now and I have spoken to so many people at Telkom I cant even remember who, what where or how! Currently I am on hold for 40 minutes trying to get through to ask when a technician will come out and what is actually causing the fault – I have had about 20 different causes of the fault now! Most of the time I dont get through and put the phone down or I get cut off. I am ready to blow a gasket and I really feel like I need to terminate my services with Telkom.
I was looking into Neotel and thought they sounded pretty good. It seems like they are just as useless as Telkom! What to do????
I use NeoBroadaband and it costs me R500 per month. It has a speed of 1Mbps and works just fine. You should have never went for Neotel if their website clearly indicates that your area does not have coverage. You clearly failed at using the coverage map.
Thank you so much for your stories about neotel. I’m also frustrated as I need data, data and more data. The other day I went to enquire at neotel and found that I have to buy their dongle or else their sim card will not work on my devices. I already have two modem dongles and considering selling one online since I don’t need two, mind you . their cheapest dongle is worth R549 and as previously stated, it cannot be used with any other sim card other than neotel’s.
Here’s my situation, briefly. I have two Cellc contracts for data, and a third one for my smartphone. Altogether, that’s about 20GB of data for R400, plus R378pm for the phone. Not the worst deal, considering that no other network I’m aware of in SA will give that much data for that little a price. The catch though is that only 10gigs is actually daytime or peak hour data. The other 30gigs is for use between midnight and 6am, hence most of my downloads are scheduled for after midnight :(.
That brings me back to Neotel,which offers 7Gigs of anytime data for only R149.unbelivable price and for anytime of the day! That has to be the cheapest prepaid data deal out there. And I also saw that there’s a contract for R128pm which gives 10gigs of data pm. However, I’m now very skeptical and wondering how ‘unbelievable’ that deal really is, given what I’ve read here.
What I’d like to find out is; has anyone used neotel recently, and if so, what was your download speeds, or did you have major issues streaming content online? Cellc download speeds in my area go up to around 7mbps on a good day and although there are buffering issues when streaming content, it is tolerable and more stable with a cable connection as opposed to WiFi. Vodacom is faster but charges ridiculous data rates in comparison.
I will appreciate any comments or suggestions regarding where to turn to for an additional 7 to 10gigs of data per month but not ADSL with telkom for the moment as I still need to do my homework with telkom in my area, the associated monthly rates by telkom and third parties like mweb, etc. Perhaps I could end up cancelling or not renewing one of the cellc data contracts.
Apologies, just to correct my last post, the data I get from the cellc data contracts is altogether 40GB pm (not 20GB)..