An innovative pilot scheme with Cherry Godfrey promises to give Airtel-Vodafone’s customers more flexibility when it comes to financing the cost of their next mobile handset.
Subject to the usual credit checks, Islanders will be able to separate their contract for telephone service from their smartphone or tablet finance arrangements, much like the way homeowners pay for new furniture or white goods.
Airtel-Vodafone vice-president Ian Campbell said that his company was piloting the initiative in response, not only to the rapid technological advances in the sector, but also to changing consumer habits. He said: Four or five years ago, the price of a relatively expensive handset would have been around £300. Now, the industry is anticipating the launch of the iPhone 5 this October, which will come with a price tag of around £750. The market has changed so much – and is advancing so quickly – that it seems logical to start to finance communications technology in the same way that we might pay for a new television or piece of furniture for the home.’
Until now, there has been no way for Islanders to leave their mobile contract after a year, for example, in order to upgrade their handset to another model. However, by splitting the phone and telephony contracts this is now possible. Mr Campbell said: ‘We have joined with Cherry Godfrey and are delighted to introduce a new arrangement which gives our customers far greater flexibility when it comes to financing terms. I’m very happy to say that it also means the difficult practice of enforcing exit penalties will become a thing of the past. With technology moving so quickly these days, these sorts of contract penalties increasingly seem to run counter to innovation and progress.’
The pilot scheme is effective immediately and customers can complete all the Cherry Godfrey forms with an agent at the Airtel-Vodafone store.
Cherry Godfrey Marketing Director Gareth Burchell said: ‘The new split scheme is easy to sign up to in store. It gives customers access to a wider variety of mobile phones by spreading the cost of the handsets outside the normal contracts for minutes and texts. There is also the possibility of adding an insurance product which gives cover for loss and water damage. This way of spreading the cost of the handset really puts the customer in the driving seat and endorses Airtel-Vodafone’s customer focus by enabling the customer to get the best telephony deal and now the best deal on a new mobile phone too.’
If the initiative proves popular with customers then it will be rolled out in Jersey.