South Africa’s First National Bank (FNB) is launching its own-brand Android smartphone, the ConeXis, on 1 September to offer “true mobile banking”.
The ConeXis X1 and A1 handsets will be distributed via the bank’s branches around the country. The ZTE-built smartphone comes with the FNB banking app pre-installed.
ConeXis X1 is a 4G handset for users of the bank’s Cheque Account. It costs ZAR150 ($11) per month over a two-year contract. Included in the contract are 25 minutes of calls and 100MB of data per month.
The ConeXis A1 is a 3G smartphone for users of FNB’s Easy Account. It costs ZAR59 per month with 15 minutes of calls and 50MB of data per month.
Both handsets carry zero data charges when users are accessing the banking app. There are also free calls to the bank’s enquiry line.
Last year the bank launched an MVNO to provide its own mobile service on Cell C’s network.
The bank tweeted at this week’s launch: “True mobile banking is enabling customers to bank anywhere, anytime using smartphone technology at affordable prices”.
FNB also tweeted that it is the first financial services firm in South Africa to launch its own smartphone.
But perhaps not the first company in the financial sector internationally to take such an approach: At Mobile World Congress in 2012, Western Union unveiled an own brand handset, although it is unclear the device ever gained much traction as the money transfer firm attempted to fight back against small, nimbler rivals.