Wednesday, January 17, 2024

It's time for change... Seeya Cell C, roll on Melon Mobile!

Many moons ago, in the region of 20 years or so, I abandoned the MTN ship and made the jump to Cell C. At the time, Cell C were a fresh alternative to the reigning cellular networks in South Africa.
They offered something that MTN could not - quick support and a seemingly willing approach to assisting clients.

At first, the honeymoon was bliss - Cell C was great, and I was happy to have jumped ship.
20 years on, and the picture is far less rosy.
Cell C still doesn't offer 5G data services, their support staff are often rude, their coverage is sketchy and they don't even operate their own cell towers anymore.
Recent headlines also paint a dire financial picture for the company in coming years...

After growing tired of their incessant calling to advise me that I am due for an upgrade, I started trying to find alternative options with other cellular providers...

Enter Melon Mobile - an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator), which runs off the MTN network.
After seeing their ads on Instagram, it became apparent that their approach was in stark contrast to the well-established contract-based cellular mindset that we have all become used to.
You see, Melon don't do contracts - it's all month to month, and their pricing is super competitive.
You can opt for a free trial, but I signed up for their R199 Summer Promo, which gets me:

  • 5GB data
  • 500 SMS
  • UNLIMITED Voice minutes per month
...on a month to month basis, for R199!
So I'm not stressing about a 24 or 36 month commitment here. My commitment issues are sorted :)

Here's where the deal gets really sweet. Instead of going into a store in a crazy busy shopping mall, waiting for a consultant, figuring out what you want to sign up for, producing reams of supporting documents, payslips, bank statements and blood samples... and finally hopefully ending up with a new cell package, you just download the Melon app, and do everything in there.
For me, it took all of 20 minutes, including RICA (which Melon do via Whatsapp).
A really nice touch here is the option to sign up for a free eSIM (if your phone is compatible, otherwise you can order a normal SIM card).
For the uninitiated, an eSIM works just like a physical SIM card, except it downloads and installs directly to your phone - it's essentially a digital SIM card. Nifty!

The Melon app showing plan and payment options

Super clean, uncluttered UI = easy reading

The entire setup and installation can be done from the comfort of your own home, in less than 30 minutes... and yes they can port your existing number as well :)
Need support? Hit them up on Whatsapp and a real live human being will reply within minutes, ready to sort out any queries that you may have.
Compare that to the 25 minute hold time that we are all so used to on other cellular networks...

I've now been on the Melon Mobile network since early November 2023, and if these first few months are anything to go on, they are onto a seriously good product.
Coverage has been excellent almost everywhere - I no longer get dropped calls, and I can actually experience properly decent data speeds.
It would be wise for other cellular networks to learn a thing or 2 from Melon - after all, why should we be locked into cell contracts for several years, all the while putting up with shoddy service and exorbitant pricing?

Still not convinced?
Why not download their app below and take their free trial for a spin ;) 
I'm guessing that you might be pleasantly surprised...


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