Is it not unfair that we in Kenya and similar countries cannot trade-in our old gadgets especially smartphones? Take my case for instance, I own a Samsung Galaxy S3 and I was looking forward to replacing it with Samsung Galaxy S5. But I can’t do this as I know Samsung Galaxy S5 will launch at prices well above Kshs 80,000 and trust me I’m not interested in coughing out amounts more than Kshs 60,000 to buy a phone – not when I have a fully functional smartphone that doesn’t really need replacement.
But what if I could trade-in?
In countries where trade-ins are allowed, and buying high end phones are done under contracts, those who own Samsung Galaxy S3 can as well acquire the Galaxy S5 for free by selling their off contract Samsung Galaxy S3s at prices as high as $200, the same price level Samsung Galaxy S5 is rumored to launch at on contract.
If we could also buy phones at contracts, this means one could be required to part with amounts averaging Kshs 16,000 to Kshs 20,000 under the contract for a phone that sells of Kshs 80,000 plus. This way, someone like me could sell the Samsung Galaxy S3 at Kshs 25,000 (current retail prices for new ones is about Kshs 35,000 to Kshs 38,000), buy the Samsung Galaxy S5 for Kshs 20,000 under contract, and be happy. Such a deal not only means one has somehow acquired the latest top notch gadget like the Samsung Galaxy S5 for free but has also been able to save some dime in the process.
Contract phones in Kenya
Back in 2011 TechWeez carried a story on mobile phone contracts coming to Kenya but it seems real contract offers have never taken route. But Safaricom seems to have an offer that is close to a contract arrangement dubbed Safaricom Smart Choice and reads:
The Safaricom smart choice offer lets you take home selected high-end phones and tablets in 12 easy installments. It gets even better; this offer comes with free Safaricom to Safaricom minutes, SMS and data every month!
There are 2 ways of paying for the devices and upon approval; you can take the phone or tablet with you right there, right then!
- Bank Financed: Apply for the offer at any Equity Bank and upon approval, pick your device from a Safaricom Retail shop.
- Credit Card: Set up a Credit Card arrangement at any Safaricom Retail Shop. Upon approval and payment of the first installment, you can pick your phone. The remaining 11 installments shall be debited directly from your Credit Card every month. The accepted Credit Cards are;
- KCB Credit cards
- Barclays Credit Cards
- All applications are subject to credit vetting.
This offer allows you to take one phone and one tablet at a go. Once you have completed your installments for one or all devices you can take up more to add to your smart collection! This offer is also only valid for selected original phones and tablets as advertised.
The hire purchase (or smart choice) by Safaricom had Samsung Galaxy S3 sell for Kshs 5,500 for a period of 12 months. However as seen above, these offers are available under credit card arrangements or bank financing. True contract arrangement however demands that one buys the gadget in question at prices as low as $200 (Kshs 17,600) and the operator recovers the rest of the cost from voice/data plans not from some installment payment as in the case with Safaricom.
I believe a true contract offer in Kenya would be viable and will increase uptake of smartphones, and allow old smartphone users acquire new gadgets ‘for free’. As mentioned in the introduction, there is also a need for setting up shops that allow trade-ins for old gadgets. OLX, being keen on second hand sales and purchases, should think towards setting up a trade-in shop.