FNB launches own-branded smartphones - TechCentral

FNB launches own-branded smartphones

FNB's ConeXis X1

FNB’s ConeXis X1

First National Bank is stepping up its foray into the mobile telecommunications industry, launching its own-branded smartphones. The low-cost but “high-quality” ConeXis X1 and A1 phones will be available from 380 branches around the country.

Unsurprisingly, the phones come bundled with FNB’s smartphone banking app. Jan Kleynhans, who heads up the consumer segment for FNB, said the initiative is meant to drive its customers to its mobile banking channels, allowing them to bank wherever they are.

The A1 is pitched at price-sensitive Easy bank account holders. The phone is available for R59/month with 15 minutes of bundled airtime and 50MB/month of data included.

The higher specification X1 is aimed at Gold and Premium (Premier, Private Clients and Private Wealth) customers. The X1 is available for R150/month with 25 minutes and 100MB/month of data included.

FNB offers up to a 100% rebate on the X1 monthly instalments depending on the customer’s eBucks rewards level.

Gold customers on eBucks rewards level of 3, 4 and 5 will be rebated R60, R90 and R150 (100%) on the monthly repayment respectively. Premium customers will be rewarded from level 1.

FNB has tightly integrated the ConeXis smartphone offering with its rewards and banking programme, rewarding customers with cellular discounts. FNB-banked customers can earn up to 40% on their monthly cellular spend dependent on their eBucks rewards level.

The launch of the new phones comes after the bank debuted its mobile virtual network operator, FNB Connect, last year. FNB piggybacks on Cell C’s network infrastructure.

The bank on Tuesday also announced it is introducing an unlimited calls offering through FNB Connect at a cost of R399/month. The calls on the new plan, which is available from 24 August, apply to any local network.

The A1 and the X1 are available to customers who have a banking transactional account. They require an FNB Connect Sim card. They must put down a R500 (A1) or R1 500 (X1) deposit to purchase the phone, though this is refundable after 24 months, with interest.

The phones are Sim-locked to FNB Connect. The bank denied that this contravenes Independent Communications Authority of South Africa regulations.

FNB ConeXis A1

FNB ConeXis A1

“We received legal opinion in terms of what we can do from a locking perspective,” said Kartik Mistry, head of smart devices at FNB. “The opinion we received is we are allowed to do it.”

The phones will be unlocked after 24 months, after which they can be used with any network.

Both phones are made by ZTE in China.

The A1 has a 4-inch display; supports 3G (not 4G); has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera (2-megapixel front); quad-core, 1,3GHz Qualcomm CPU, 8GB storage and 1GB RAM; 1 400mAh battery; and a microSD card slot (with support for cards of up to 32GB in size).

The phone runs Android Lollipop and ships with a screen protector and a 2 600mAh power bank.

The X1, meanwhile, has a 5,2-inch HD IPS display; supports 3G and 4G/LTE, has an 8-megapixel rear-facing camera (5-megapixel front); Qualcomm quad-core 1,3GHz CPU, 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM; 2 540mAh battery; and microSD slot (128GB cards are supported).

The phone runs Android Marshmallow and ships with a 16GB memory card, a screen protector and a back cover.  — © 2016 NewsCentral Media


  1. Shaun Crosby on

    Specs are atrocious. 8GB is not enough storage on an android phone, even with a memory card, not everything can be moved to the memory card. The 1.3GHz quad core processor is older than both my daughters combined And I can’t believe they network locking it. What is this? 1999? If you going to play in the market, at least bring something that is up to date and not 5 years behind.

  2. “The higher specification X1 is aimed Gold and Premium (Premier, Private
    Clients and Private Wealth) customers. The X1 is available for
    R150/month with 25 minutes and 100MB/month of data included.”

    Really now, that is what u offer premium, that data would last me barely a minute. Update facebook and ur out of data damnit.

  3. Agreed. If you have a platinum account or upwards, you’re probably in the sort of position where you need a decent phone with decent specs. None of these ‘cost effective’ phones or phone contracts seem to have any real value.

  4. Simonsaysthis on

    The product is poorly matched to the target market of premiere+ clients. You need to be spending a ton to earn your subscription back via eBucks and at that spend you expect a more premium product. If one really wants a good value for money Android phone its better to buy a Xiaomi cash. This offer is a joke

  5. Shaun Crosby on

    Had many android phones, since they first launched, all different makes and models, 16GB is the sweetspot with the OS. It provides enough space to handle the numerous application updates and enough space for basic user storage. And besides, with the amount that flash based storage has dropped in price, it’s really ridiculous to even consider releasing a phone with less than 16GB in this day and age.

  6. If you are already on level 5, the money is virtually free. It is not hard to get on level 5.

  7. Simonsaysthis on

    It is not easy to be on level 5. eBucks is designed to increase profitability by customers either taking out more products or being in debt. If you take a prudent net view the average customer gets nothing for free. Well, its a business after all.

  8. Greg Mahlknecht on

    >“We received legal opinion in terms of what we can do from a locking perspective,” said Kartik Mistry, head of smart devices at FNB. “The opinion we received is we are allowed to do it.”

    That might be so, but the fact they do it will make me not even vaguely consider these devices, and I know some of my friends will ask how the deal looks, and I’ll say don’t even consider it.

    Just glancing at their devices on offer, there are other decent phones available for similar prices, that aren’t SIM-locked and you can actually find reviews on them to know what you’re buying.

  9. There is a good way and a bad way to get on lvl 5. You can either make more debt (bad way) or use their investment products (good way). I use the latter and it is actually a great incentive to save and to invest.

  10. None of those other devices offer a rebate. On level 5, the phone is virtually free. I am so getting this on Friday.

  11. Greg Mahlknecht on

    If you buy it on the FNB Smart Device facility, you get up to 100% back any of the phones up to R500 (I think?) – although you’re kind of right – I see they’ve now taken that perk away from the lower accounts.

  12. Godfrey Albertyn on

    Can FNB maybe focus on making sure their banking network is up and running rather than selling us cellphones!

  13. The X1 ships with a 16Gb memory card included, and you can format it to count as internal storage. Which brings storage space up to 24Gb, which you can use for apps, photos, etc. It’s not the fastest or smoothest phone alive, but its great for someone on a budget and is far better than any other phone in that price range.

  14. I’m on level 4, so I pay R60 a month – I can’t get onto level 5 because i don’t have a personal loan, but it’s easy for a gold account to get onto level 4. You need 4 FNB products : a credit card, cheque card, FNB app, and a savings pocket. It’s not that hard.

  15. Not all applications can be moved to a memory card. Only a few, mostgraphic intensive games won’t allow themselves to be moved to a memory card, and applications like whatsapp and facebook (which if you don’t clear the cache regularly) can’t either. These apps get updated often and chew up space quickly. And on an 8GB phone usually only 4 – 6 GB is usable.

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