Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Hmm. Vodafone retentions need to wake the hell up, I think.

OK, my major rant below done, time for a smaller one...!

It appears that my current contract with Vodafone's up for renewal soon; I had Mobile Phones Direct tell me this the other week (I got my current HTC Touch Pro 2 from them), so looked into it today.

I'm far from impressed.

Seems that if I go for the phone that I want (a Samsung Galaxy S II running Android v2.3 "Gingerbread"), then instead of the £26 a month contract that Vodafone are offering new punters, as an existing punter, I won't be paying less, I'd be paying MORE?! What?!

Have they completely lost their marbles?!

Add to this, if I want the phone at my current 36-odd quid a month contract, I'd have to shell out something like 60-65 quid for the privilage?!

I think that they can stick their ideas into a dark smelly place, thank you very much.

I'll save some money, and buy an unlocked, SIM-free one in a few months time, then DOWNGRADE my contract to a SIM-Only contract instead, thus saving me ooodles of money in the long term.

Think about it: Sim-Free, one of these phones is around the 500 quid mark.

How much am I paying in contract terms over two years? £864 or so. Add in the off-plan phone, text, and data, and that adds to the cost, and let's also not forget that Vodafone aren't paying retail pricers for the phones - they're probably paying about a half to two-thirds the retail price through bulk purchasing from Samsung.

Now, let's call the two year cost £870, plus the £65 upgrade charge, that's £935 over two years.

Costs of Sim-Free? £500 for the phone. SIM-Free contracts can be had from all the Mobile operators, of course, and a comparison of those costs can be found here. It's quite revealing.

Now, I've got a SIM for mobile internet (for a dongle) from 3, their tenner a month PAYG (Pay As you Go) option, and very good it is too; I use it on my Acer "Aspire 1" netbook. On the strength of that, if I go SIM-Only, it's going to be a toss-up between Vodafone and 3; currently, I'm thinking a 15/month SIM-only contract from 3, so costs on that would be, over two years: £360.

The deal that 3 offer, by the way, is VERY attractive:

Talk Time Text Messages Extras Contract Length Monthly Cost
300 minutes anytime cross network 3,000 inclusive text messages 1GB mobile internet;
FREE Delivery;
14 Day return;
Keep your number
30 day rolling contract £15.00


So, total costs over two years on that combination, would be: £500 + £360 = £860, a tenner less over two years than my current contract, if I replace my existing phone with a new one. Even excluding one-off accessories (belt pouch, and such like), it's still a good deal.

It's an even better deal if I instead deep-six Vodafone altogether at the end of my contract, and go with the deal from 3, while retaining my existing phone - it would also save me fifteen to twenty quid a month., which is somewhat attractive too.

You do the maths.

Don't get me wrong: Vodafone have been good for me over the last couple of years; their customer services folks, the very few times I needed them, were pretty fast on the nuptake, and good at their jobs. But customer loyalty is all about giveing your existing punters a good deal, while also making sure that they KNOW that they're getting a good deal. It's therefore rather sad that their marketing and sales department can't seem to grasp this concept. To a certain extent, it would appear that all the Mobile Operators need to pull their fingers out for their existing punters. So, again, I'll ask: WHY do existing punters get the short shrift from Vodafone and similar?

it's easy enough to follow, sadly. It's because they know that the vast majority of us will NOT look twice, we'll simply nod blindly, and accept the charges that'll cost them more in the long term.

Well, Not me, folks.

I'm buying SIM-Free again. It may well mean that I have to wait just a little longer for that new phone, but, long-term, it'll be a damn sight cheaper for me to do so!

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