With festive season shopping in full swing, many South Africans will be looking to replace or upgrade their smartphones. E-commerce stores and mobile network operators will have tempting promotions on offer.
TCL offers some suggestions about how you can find a good smartphone promotion, whether you’re shopping for yourself or buying a gift for someone else.
Know your budget and decide on prepaid versus contract
Before you start shopping, decide whether you want to be on a prepaid plan or a contract (post-paid) and set your budget for the device or for monthly payments in the contract.
The benefit of a contract is that you can upgrade handsets every two years, will always be connected, and can get a plan for a set monthly amount that will cover your voice and data needs.
Prepaid means that you’re not tied into a contract for 24 months, have the flexibility to adjust your monthly spending, and have the freedom to move to a new operator at any time.
Think about what you want from a smartphone
The next step is to consider what you need from a phone. Do you want to buy an entry-level device for a child or a top-of-the-line smartphone for your own use? What are your priorities?
Do you need a great camera, long battery life, ample storage or a large display? Are you okay with 4G or do you want a 5G ready device? Some devices are better for photographers and gamers; others are more business ready.
Research the smartphone you want ahead of time
Once you know what you want to spend, you can start browsing mobile network and ecommerce websites to see what’s available within your price range.
You can read up on device specifications and features on manufacturer, mobile network, or ecommerce websites. Compare prices across different mobile networks and shops to see who has the best deals.
You can follow operators and retailers on social media or sign up for their newsletters to get the latest news on their special offers and promotions.
Remember that you might be able to get a good deal on an older smartphone model when new ones come in—these can often offer attractive pricing compared to the latest models.
If you see something you like, you can read customer and professional reviews on the web to get a feel for the pros and cons of the device that caught your eye.
Pay attention to the things that matter to you (or the person you’re giving the phone) whether that’s long battery life, a big screen for Zoom calls or the best possible camera within your price range.
Tip: Find a deal you like with a different mobile network to your current provider? You can keep your existing number when you change providers with mobile number portability.
Get your RICA information together
If you are getting a new SIM card with your device, you’ll need your proof of address and ID book to be registered in compliance with the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-Related Information Act (RICA).
Also note that you’ll need to go through the standard credit checks if you’re getting a contract.