I have been banging on about leasing or renting phones for some time. I very much believe that the marketplace is going to need to evolve to address the hardware dating issue. For me, anyway.
I’ve had my iPhone 4 from 3 for 16 months and it’s on a 24-month contract. The new iPhone 4S is out. I want it.
What do I do?
Well, I walk into the 3 store yesterday and I ask for an iPhone 4S. I was quite prepared to pay some kind of early upgrade charge or .. whatever, really. I didn’t care. I just wanted the iPhone 4S and — like the good Apple consumer I am — I was prepared to pay. My expectation was that the whole experience will cost a bit of cash.
The chap in the store recommended that I take out a new line instead of upgrading the existing line and paying the upgrade charges. I’m sure that this makes his figures look better. It also saved me money.
“Just don’t phone up and cancel your current one immediately!” he said.
Here, then, is what I did with Three.
1. I took out a new contract for an iPhone 4S. I paid £279 up front as I wanted the 64GB version. It’s a 24 month contract. [Interestingly the chap in the shop never ONCE mentioned the contract length. <s>He didn't ask if I wanted 18 months</s>.]
2. I’ve got 8 months left on my iPhone 4 contract.
3. I called up to find out how much it would cost for me to kill this contract today. Answer = £240 charge.
4. I went on to envirofone’s website to see how much they’d pay me for the iPhone 4. Answer = £215.
That’s almost cost neutral.
(When, errrr, you ignore the £279 up front I paid for the 64GB — the 16GB would have been free, I think).
My point is this: Why didn’t 3 just take my old iPhone 4 from me, terminate the existing contract and establish a new one?
Instead we went through the rigmarole of establishing an entirely new line. Great, their figures will be enhanced. That’s another contract customer! Until, that is, I give their retentions team heartburn by phoning up and killing the old contract, adding a churn to the figures.
Still, I’m happy. I’ve got the 4S now and it’s nice and fast.