If like us you thought that the public phone was dead, you couldn’t be more wrong. NetOne is bringing those things back. Called the Chatter Box this is essentially a public cell phone where you get to put your own sim card. Design wise it looks more like those Adondo public phones from a couple of years ago. How you use is is that you insert your sim card into a card holder,which you then insert into the Chatter Box.
In terms of problems this is solving, we can see two: First, is the problem of there not being enough cellphones in your pockets to take all the simcards you have. It’s a multi-sim market and NetOne may have noticed that a good number of sim cards get active for a short time before going off the network again, apparently after being swapped out for another network’s sim card.
The second is that smartphones drain battery fast and you’ve probably more than a few times found yourself in the city on a flat battery but in need of making or receiving an urgent call.
As far as we can tell, the use of the Chatter Box is free. For the call itself though, you get charged normal NetOne rates. You can also do stuff like mobile money transactions and other value added services.
What we think? They are a good to have kind of thing. We live and work in places where we might never use them, but there may be people out there that will find good use for them. So in an enabling communication kind of sense, they are good to have. In terms of business for NetOne, we don’t imagine that this’ll make a big difference. But NetOne is government and their mandate is not exactly making lots of money.