Buying phones on a contract like Americans do is something we have been waiting for for so long, but I have high levels of confidence it is not going to happen soon for obvious reasons. This, however, does not mean that there is a shortage of other options in Kenya. Products such as Lipa Later or Aspira’s Lipa Baadaye have been around for a while, and while we do not have numbers from them, I can confidently assume that they do not net a lot of customers because they are expensive. And the story can only get worse from there.
Earlier today, Samsung and M-Kopa launched a service that will allow customers buy the Galaxy A10s on a plan that will see them own the device after a year of financing. It is an interesting plan that will see interested customers pick the device from any Safaricom or M-Kopa outlet if they don’t mind being ripped off.
The first thing you should do is make a KES 3500 deposit at the aforementioned retail stores.
The rest of the fees will then be paid for 365 days at KES 60 per day. This adds up to KES 25,400. The payments are made on a daily basis, and if you miss, the phone locks itself. It is the same model we saw with M-Gas.
For context, the A10s is an entry-level phone from Samsung that succeeds the A10. It is one of the cheapest smartphones that you can get from Samsung in Kenya.
If you decide to pick it without the plan, it will run you KES 13000, making the financing plan KES 12400 expensive.
This is outrageous by any means, and we wouldn’t advise any of our readers to subscribe to a plan that is obviously predatory.
What can you get with KES 13000?
Samsung knew it was hurting in the low- and mid-range segment especially in emerging markets thanks to the onslaught of cheap and superior Chinese phones that are actually worth their salt. Thus, it launched the A-series to replace the Js that were overpriced for no good reason.
In Kenya, for example, you will get a better phone for KES 13000. For instance, TECNO Camon 12 or Camon 12 Air sticker price is in that neighbourhood, and they are better phones by many metrics. You can even pay less for the Spark 4 series that we lauded in our reviews.
Infinix has the S5 as well, and save for camera issues, the phone surpasses the A10s in term of value.
I can give many other examples, including the Redmi 8A that should be receiving Android 10 anytime from today. And do you know what it costs? Under KES 10000.
Don’t get me wrong, the A-series are excellently priced, especially the mid-range segment. Those devices offer some of the best camera experience for the price, have excellent AMOLED screens and have modern features such as in-screen fingerprint readers.
However, the entry-level, namely the A10s is not it. The device should cost much lower, and this new arrangement with M-Kopa makes it even a tougher sell.
We hope Samsung will learn about Kenya’s phone-buying habits. We are not going by brands anymore because the competition has gotten better, and hey, it does not price its phones outrageously.