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Barebones phone hits market

By   |  August 18, 2006

A new mobile phone targeting the low-end of the market hit the South African market on Friday with the launch of Vodafone Simply.

Vodafone Simply from Vodacom reverses the trend towards feature-packed phones with a simple solution that will appeal to users who just want to use voice and text services.

The cellphone is a big handset with three exclusive buttons that give direct access to regularly-used features such as the main screen, phonebook and messages. Included is a flashing button that notifies you when new messages arrive.

“Ease of use and accessibility of information on cellphones are key features for users, especially as feature rich handsets and technology continue to enter the market at a dynamic pace,” says Shameel Joosub, MD of Vodacom South Africa.

Customers can dial 111 from their Vodafone Simply handset which will immediately identify them as a Vodafone Simply user to Vodacom call centre agents.

Additionally, the voicemail facility has been enhanced so that access to voicemail messages is as easy as pressing a single button without the need to dial the short code into your voice mailbox.

However, these features that tap directly into Vodacom customer support come at a price. “The cellphone will be network-locked,” Vodacom’s Group Chief Communications Officer, Dot Field, told Tectonic.

She said the phone will cost R899 and can be purchased at any Vodacom-accredited outlet. “It’s already in stores as we speak.”

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