Gone are the days when you could get a flagship phone on a 12 month contract for under £30/month. Of course we can appreciate the rise in sophistication of the technology, R&D costs etc, making the phones more expensive but with the recent introduction of 36 months contracts, things are getting a bit ridiculous.
12 Month Bliss..
As someone who loves tech and gadgets the mobile phone is the ideal device to own. I loved the rapid development of mobile phones, with the likes of the Sony Ericsson W500i, I couldn’t wait till the end of my contract to get the latest phone.
It was like Christmas, if not better. But then 24 months contracts were introduced and networks stopped subsiding the phone, mainly due to Apple. Apple didn’t let networks dictate the pricing and was a turning of the tables in the industry. At first I understood 24 month contracts, we were seeing companies trailblaze the market with cutting edge devices with Touchscreen, music players built in and cameras. It was becoming the all in one device and so you could argues that the cost was justified. Then the upfront cost started rising and the monthly payment, you started to realise that a mobile phone was becoming a luxury if you were to keep up with the latest tech.
O2 36 month contracts
Now in 2018 we have the likes of O2, who have introduced 36 month contracts under the disguise of ‘custom plans’. Giving the consumer the power to choose their upfront cost or to lower their monthly payments. Now if you know about technology etc, it not much of an issue, you realise its expensive and know the release date of the phones. This is the important bit, O2 are selling already 1 year old phones on 3 year contracts.
The Samsung Galaxy 8, release on the 15th Sept 2017, its now over a year old. Go to the O2 website today and to get the phone it will cost you £37.34 a month with £20 upfront over 36 months for 15GB of data. Hectic. I was recently in the O2 shop and seen the Sales guy try to push this exact contract on a unassuming mother who clearly didn’t know that much about mobile phones. Some might say what’s so bad about it? Well first of all Samsung is an Android device. Apart from Samsung phones notoriously slowing down, Android manufacturers rarely support phones after 2 years. Android even created the Android Enterprise Programme to even get manufacturers to support phones for that long. So if you buy the Samsung 8 today, you are already a year into that, with one more year of support left. After that you wont get any significant android updates but only security updates for up to the third year of the phone. If you have bought a one year old phone on a 36 month contract you are going to have 1 year totally unsupported. Now, the manufacturer may support it but it’s a gamble. They focus on supporting their latest flagship devices, not a 3 year old phone.
I can understand the 36 month contract, with the introduction of the £1000 phones, it helps people spread the cost etc. But it’s important on what phones its offered on and better clarity to the unsuspecting consumer. People are going to be annoyed locked into a 36 month contract with a slow phone, not getting updated or that is now unsecured. O2 need to make this clear.