Mobile World Congress: Did the mainstream media notice?

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Refurb smartphones to attract Vodafone pre-pay users?

Vodafone have announced they are to sell ‘officially refurbished’ smartphones. Available to all they come with a warrantee at a discounted price. Handset availability will depend on which devices other customers have previously returned.

However, the announcement suggests their focus is firmly on reducing device costs for pre-pay customers:

It makes it more affordable for customers to get their hands on a smartphone, helping to increase take-up of the mobile internet among the mass-market (rather than being aimed at early adopters or people who already have a smartphone). We’re particularly targeting pay as you go users who have yet to make the leap to a smartphone.

Interestingly it also offers some numbers for smartphone adoption:

smartphone take-up among new pay monthly customers is over 90%

I’d previously seen figures of around 75% for the whole of the UK (and globally it’s much lower – around 40%) so this suggests operators will need to be increasingly creative for those who can’t subsidise their hardware with a contract.

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