Android: MTN 4 Vodacom 0
My Vodacom contract has recently come up for renewal, and as usual I started the process of searching for a new phone. My current phone is a Samsung i780, which has served me extremely well over the past two years. As I have been very happy with Samsung, I first looked at what new Samsung had to offer me. Their smartphone replacement on the Windows side is not bad, but with no touch screen, is not really useful (why they did this is beyond me). I was initially focusing my attention on phones with a bar form factor and QWERTY keyboard, but soon realised I needed to broaden my search.
First thing that I did was look and see what else Samsung had to offer, and came across the Android based Galaxy Spica. I have always had Android at the back of my mind, but whilst I was running with my windows based device, I did not look at it in detail. Coming across the Spica really opened my eyes up to Android, and so I went on fact finding mission to identify what phones are available. This led me to fond out the following phones that are available:
- Samsung Galaxy Spica
- HTC Magic
- HTC Tattoo
- HTC Hero
- HTC Desire
- HTC Legend
- Sony Erricson Xperia X10 (still coming)
- Motorola Milestone (still coming)
- Samsung S (still coming)
The next step was obviously, to see what is available on my service providor, Vodacom. At the time on initial investigation, they were waiting for release of the Desire and Legend, and they had the Magic,Tattoo and Hero range. They did not offer the Samsung and I am not really interested on the Xperia (because of poor reviews). The Magic,Tatto and Hero range are now old phones, so i decided to eliminate them from my shortlist, and rather get a current phone ( I am not sure if you can get them now anyway). Further investigation ensued.
Since, I have been happy with Samsung, I first contacted Samsung and asked when it would be available on the Vodacom Network - April/May I was told. I also followed up with regards to the HTC legend and desire, and according to the folks at AndroidZA website, those would be available mid May. I must point ot that at that point in my investigation (late April), the Samsung Galaxy Spica and the HTC Desire and Legend were all available on MTN. Goal 1 for MTN. The Samsung had been available a lot earlier. Despite all that, I forgot about it for a couple of weeks and waited for the respective phones to arrive.
When the HTC legend and Desire arrived, they arrived with a hefty handset price, even on the upper contracts (Talk 500). As we speak (end of May) the pay in for the desire is R1600 on a Talk 500. I prefer not to pay money for my handset over and above the R800 odd that is spent monthly on the contract alone, so this is not an option. At this time I also confirmed that the Samsung Galaxy Spica is not going to be released on Vodacom. Goal 2 for MTN. Around this time AndroidZA published a blog comparing the different prices for Android based phones and the figures were quite alarming. MTN offer the top of the range desire and legend for no pay in fee right down to their Talk 200 equivalent package, while Vodacom is asking anything up to R4000. Goal 3 to MTN. In fact users on a Talk 200 even have to Pay in R700 for the old and poorly rated HTC Tattoo.
So, right now, if I want a Android based phone on the Vodacom network, I must be prepared to either pay in R1600, or get an old outdated phone. It is only correct of me to mention that Vodacom SP did offer me a R500 discount on the pay in fee (like that is meant to mean something!). The real annoying thing is that if they offered the Samsung, I would take it today!
So now my options are, pay in, wait until the pay in drops to maybe something reasonable like R500, wait for the new Samsung S, or wait for the Xperia X10 (but that has no multi-touch), or go with an old outdated phone!. Gola 4 and match to MTN. Come on Vodacom, get with it!