I had the opportunity to visit Cell C, MTN and Vodacom retail stores in a Sandton mall today while on the hunt for the Samsung Galaxy Note 4.
My objective was to get a reasonably priced contract at Cell C, MTN or Vodacom. Plus points for the great vibe at each store. When it came to getting what I wanted however, which was quick summarised information and an actual phone, I must say that I was a tad bit disappointed.
Price Comparisons for Samsung Galaxy Note 4: MTN, Vodacom and Cell C
My first stop was the Cell C store that is known by many as the more cost-effective brand. Surprisingly the consultant I spoke to stated that the cheapest contract on offer for the Note 4 was over R700(he was obviously confused). I scoffed at the idea and made my way to the next store.
Vodacom offered a contract for R499 – not too shabby. It came with 75 anytime minutes and 100 MB of data. MTN, at R549, offered me 300MB of data and 100 minutes. Not bad.
Customer Service: How much do they know?
All the consultants I spoke to seemed friendly and that is always a refreshing quality to experience. I found it interesting that, each time I asked any of them a question about their Samsung Galaxy Note 4 devices and contract plans, they each had to go back to their PCs to find this data.
I found myself standing around twiddling thumbs for a while at each store while a sales consultant clicked furiously at their machines, trying to give me the information I requested at a reasonable speed. While the brochures summarised contract information, something they referenced quite often, they didn’t fare well when it came to specific tech questions. I’m not really a person to complain and to be honest, coming down on customer sales representatives isn’t really my thing. Instead I would like to highlight that a more thorough knowledge of products, especially those advertised in what seems like every mall in South Africa, would be quite beneficial.
Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Supply and Demand at Cell C, MTN and Vodacom
Every retail store visited, whether Cell C, MTN, or Vodacom, had given me the same story: We are out of stock. I was not entirely surprised about this as it was expected. A new device hits the market and people go crazy pre-ordering or queuing outside stores in order to get their tech-hungry hands on them.
What did surprise me was the type of responses that I got. An MTN consultant told me that they were out of stock and that when they do receive stock on a Monday, it will be handed to those that are on the waiting list first. I stood there thinking, so what about me? Should I wait for what seems like two whole weeks to get my device? They lost me.
Cell C, obviously lost me at the price. Not because I couldn’t afford it, but because the price actually irritated me. It did come with a high end package of 400 minutes, etc. however I wondered about the everyday consumer and if they would be able to afford it? Also, the consultant could have just been confused about the price, which is often the case.
I went to the Samsung store, who were offering Vodacom contracts, and asked if they were selling the LTE version of the Note 4 and if all versions of the Note 4 came with LTE. They seemed confused. They punched a few keys on their PC while I twiddled thumbs again and came back with the response of: we don’t know. Now for me, the ultimate plus of having Vodacom as a cellular provider would mean having access to LTE. So Vodacom lost me, someone who was willing to get a contract immediately.
I left the mall pouting with nonew Note 4 in my pocket. Why? In my case it was because no consultant offered me the option to get my device today. If it was available, they did not know if their store offered the version I wanted. And of course, in the case of Cell C, I was offered a premium price with no option of a low – medium range contract.
I’m sure that there are various explanations for what happened at each store, however, at the end of the day, what it comes down to is that a customer visited the retail chains of three major mobile operators in South Africa and could not get a smartphone that is ironically plastered across outdoor advertising spaces all across the country. I seriously thought that they each wanted the money?
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