Vodafone have announced that they are to start offering pre-owned handsets on both contract and also pay as you go terms. This aim is to try to tempt those who currently have a feature phone to upgrade to a smartphone rather than providing a cheaper alternative for those who already own a smartphone.
The phones are sourced from those returned in very good condition by customers. The phones will be checked thoroughly and will include a full data wipe before being reboxed and sold on with a full set of accessories.
Perhaps the feature that will really make these pre-owned phones attractive to customers is the fact that they also come with a warranty. If you purchase a pay as you go nearly new phone then the device will have a 12 month warranty and those purchased on a pay monthly contract will have a 24 month warranty included.
There are a number of handsets that will be available under the initiative including Apple’s iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4 and the Samsung Galaxy S3, though Apple’s iPhone 4S and 5 are not included in the scheme as yet.
Here are some prices to give you a flavour of the potential savings that you could make by purchasing a nearly new smartphone from Vodafone:
|Samsung Galaxy S3||Pay Monthly||Free + £33 per month||Free + £37 per month|
|Apple iPhone 4 (8GB)||Pay As You Go||£250||£405|
The nearly new handsets are already available in Vodafone stores and will also be available through the companies website from next week.
From Vodafone’s perspective the real reason that they are pushing this initiative will be two-fold. Firstly, they are likely to gain new customers from their rivals and every pound spent with Vodafone is a pound that is not spent with their competitors. Secondly, they are likely to sell another smartphone to the customer once the contract is up and this may or may not be a new smartphone.
For most people once they have used a smartphone they tend not to go back to a feature phone. Having access to the internet on a mobile phone can be very useful and not just for Googling the answers to the pub quiz at your local on a Thursday night.
In many ways that a smartphone owner uses their device over time can be likened to the way that owners of mobile phones used their devices 20 years ago. When mobile phones first started to appear people would buy them for “use in an emergency”. Over time those very same users might make a quick call home when they stopped at the grocery store on their way back from work to see if there was anything else that was needed. Next people would start to use their mobile to chat with their friends rather than using their landline because it was easier. With smartphones users tend to go through a similar process. They start by just accessing the internet through the phones built in browser. The next step is that they start to look at the apps that are available to them in the relevant app store. How many times have I heard the phrase “I’ll download a free app, but I’m not paying for one”. Finally they decide to take the plunge and part with their 99p and buy an app and from there they are happy to use apps as much as anything else that the phone has to offer.
As smartphone ownership grows then you might want to consider what your organisation’s strategy is for mobile internet users. You are going to need one in the coming months and years if you want to take advantage of the commercial opportunities that these new smartphone users will provide.