Melon Mobile: A Bitter sweet Experience

Note: The title refers very much to the initial onboarding experience for me as a blind client. This may change, depending on my experience for the rest of the testing period.

A new mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), Melon Mobile, has recently soft-launched for users who registered to beta test its services. The official launch is set for April 13, 2023.

I ordered a Melon Mobile SIM on April 2, 2023, and would like to share my experience with the network so far.

The signup process was somewhat difficult, as the app does not adhere to globally recognized accessibility conventions and standards, which is unfortunately common among South African companies. This resulted in some challenges while navigating and understanding what was being offered. Unlabeled and silent controls were present, so I occasionally tapped them just to make progress.

The entire process took place within the Melon Mobile app, which is currently available for download from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

To sign up, users need to provide an ID number, an existing cellphone number, and their full name and delivery information. I placed my order on Sunday, and the SIM was delivered on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

Though the SIM is Melon-branded, it operates on MTN’s MVNO platform.

After receiving the SIM, the app didn’t show any significant changes, except for the acknowledgment of the delivery in the app and email correspondence.

There was a button that said “activate your Melon SIM,” and with the assistance of a sighted colleague, I completed the RICA process, which has been declared unconstitutional.

Nonetheless, nothing changed afterwards.

On Wednesday, 5 April, I reached out to Melon Mobile’s support team to address my concerns.

I have not been particularly impressed with their support so far. I explained my situation and was instructed to insert the SIM into my phone. After doing so, I received an SMS containing my new Melon Mobile number. However, the app still did not recognize my number or provide any updates; it continued to instruct me not to insert my SIM until told to do so.

When I shared this feedback, I received another welcoming message asking how they could help me. When I tried calling customer care at 135 from my mobile phone, I was informed that my service had been suspended and I needed to contact my service provider, Melon Mobile.

They advised me to restart my device after inserting the SIM and then asked me to remove and reinsert the SIM once more. This was quite confusing, and despite these steps, I was still told that my service had been suspended and I needed to contact my service provider.

Next, they asked which device I was using. While I didn’t see the relevance, I informed them I was using an iPhone 13, 11, and 6. I mentioned I would switch to the iPhone 13, and they asked me to report any updates. As expected, I still couldn’t complete any calls.

My eSIMs on my iPhone 13 were all able to make calls, which is why I appreciate Mint Mobile, T-Mobile, and Tello so much; their accessibility and equal treatment of customers make me willing to pay a premium.

All of my SIMs, except for the Melon Mobile SIM, worked perfectly.

I was informed that they would continue investigating the issue, as I mentioned that I had to leave and couldn’t devote any more time to resolving the problem.

On Thursday 6 April 2023, I received assistance from the Melon Mobile support team, and they helped me resolve the issue I was facing. It turns out that I was supposed to enter the Mobile Subscriber Identification Number (MSIN) – a unique number that identifies the subscriber and usually doesn’t consist of more than 10 digits. The app did not prompt me to do this, or rather, its inaccessible design prevented me from being informed about this requirement.

With the support team’s help, I was able to register the SIM correctly. Now, the app displays my mobile number with Melon Mobile, the remaining days left on my package, and the remaining data, minutes, and texts (SMSs). Thankfully, these areas within the app are accessible with speech, making it easier for visually impaired users like myself to access this important information.

It’s worth noting that addressing accessibility issues throughout the entire app would significantly improve the user experience for visually impaired customers and create a more inclusive service for all users.


Melon Mobile’s pricing may be considered somewhat expensive for those looking to save money. However, the option to create your own package is appealing, even if it’s not unique in South Africa. The costs for data, voice, and text (SMS) are as follows:


  • 5 GB (500 MB): R45 => R0.09 per MB / R90 per GB
  • 2 GB: R115 => R0.0575 per MB / R57.50 per GB
  • 3 GB: R160 => R0.0533 per MB / R53.33 per GB
  • 5 GB: R230 => R0.046 per MB / R46 per GB
  • 10 GB: R340 => R0.034 per MB / R34 per GB
  • 15 GB: R425 => R0.0283 per MB / R28.33 per GB
  • 20 GB: R500 => R0.025 per MB / R25 per GB
  • 30 GB: R650 => R0.0217 per MB / R21.67 per GB
  • 50 GB: R750 => R0.015 per MB / R15 per GB
  • 100 GB: R950 => R0.0095 per MB / R9.50 per GB


  • 50 Minutes: R35 => R0.70 per minute
  • 100 Minutes: R60 => R0.60 per minute
  • 150 Minutes: R85 => R0.5667 per minute
  • 200 Minutes: R110 => R0.55 per minute
  • 300 Minutes: R160 => R0.5333 per minute
  • 400 Minutes: R200 => R0.50 per minute
  • 500 Minutes: R240 => R0.48 per minute
  • 600 Minutes: R280 => R0.4667 per minute
  • 800 Minutes: R370 => R0.4625 per minute
  • 1000 Minutes: R430 => R0.43 per minute

Texts (SMS):

  • 50 Texts: R15 => R0.30 per text
  • 150 Texts: R30 => R0.20 per text
  • 300 Texts: R60 => R0.20 per text
  • 500 Texts: R100 => R0.20 per text
  • 2000 Texts: R400 => R0.20 per text

Here’s an overview of Melon Mobile’s prepopulated packages, including the cost per GB, per minute, and per text:

  1. Student
  • Data: 5GB (R46 per GB)
  • Minutes: 50 (R0.70 per minute)
  • SMSes: 50 (R0.30 per text)
  • Price per month: R280
  1. Influencer
  • Data: 10GB (R34 per GB)
  • Minutes: 50 (R0.70 per minute)
  • SMSes: 50 (R0.30 per text)
  • Price per month: R390
  1. Gamer
  • Data: 15GB (R28.33 per GB)
  • Minutes: 100 (R0.60 per minute)
  • SMSes: 50 (R0.30 per text)
  • Price per month: R500
  1. Traveller
  • Data: 50GB (R15 per GB)
  • Minutes: 200 (R0.55 per minute)
  • SMSes: 150 (R0.20 per text)
  • Price per month: R890
  1. Business
  • Data: 20GB (R25 per GB)
  • Minutes: 1,000 (R0.43 per minute)
  • SMSes: 150 (R0.20 per text)
  • Price per month: R960


In conclusion, while Melon Mobile’s customizable packages may be attractive, the overall experience leaves much to be desired in terms of pricing, especially with the entry-level bundles, accessibility, and ease of use. It’s essential for the company to address these issues, especially if they wish to cater to a diverse customer base and create a more inclusive mobile service experience.

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