Vodafone UK has come up with a new twist for potential buyers of smartphones on their network. Dubbed Vodafone Red Hot, users sign up for a pair of 12-month contracts. The first is for a typical data plan that includes unlimited voice and text and up to 2GB of data. The second contract is to “hire” the device you select. Effectively, the plan is like an auto lease as you have to turn the phone back in to Vodafone at the end of the year unless you decide to pony up and pay for the device or switch to a month to month plan with continuing “lease” payments.
The main benefit for some buyers is that the upfront cost to get a new device can be avoided. The downside is that you don’t own the device and you need to return it at the end of the term in good condition to avoid a charge for wear or damage. You would also have to make sure you had a way to export any data, like contacts, pictures, videos, and other files off the device before turning it back in. Customizing the device via ROM installs or such will also be a problem unless you plan ahead to return it to stock.
Only a few devices are available, but they are current “red hot” devices. Pricing for the devices, including the data plan, is:
- iPhone 5 16GB for £59 per month (about $94 USD)
- Samsung Galaxy S III 16GB for £47 per month (about $75 USD)
- Samsung Galaxy Note II for £52 per month (about $82 USD)
Devices with additional memory are available for a small upfront fee of £29 ($46 USD) for 32GB or £49 for 64GB ($78 USD) versions.
Do you think leasing a smartphone is a good idea? Is it something you would be interested in pursuing if your preferred carrier made it available?
source: Vodafone UK