Vodafone launched a new program in the UK called "Nearly New" that offers second-hand smartphones in good condition to its pay-as-you-go (PAYG) and pay monthly (PAYM) customers. According to Mobile Today, nearly new phones are those that have been returned in very good condition by Vodafone customers.
Vodafone said that under the Nearly New program PAYG customers will be able to purchase a smartphone at a reduced up-front cost, while PAYM customers will be able to buy a smartphone with a less expensive monthly tariff plan.
The Next Web points out that the nearly new concept is not a new one for UK operators: both Orange UK and O2 UK offer similar schemes.
Vodafone is particularly targeting PAYG customers who have yet to buy their first smartphone. The company is emphasising that all "nearly new" devices will have undergone a series of checks including a full security wipe, and will be offered with guarantees and accessories.
The Nearly New plan comes on the heels of Vodafone's leasing plan called "Red Hot," which it launched in the UK in November. That plan effectively allows a subscriber to gain a new smartphone every 12 months by renting the device through a monthly subscription, with inclusive voice minutes and 2 GB of data a month. The Red Hot plan is similar to an existing proposition from Telefónica's O2 UK, called O2 Lease.
Taken together, the programs indicate that while Vodafone may have been forced to reinstate smartphone subsidies after attempting a lease-only approach for smartphones in Spain, the operator is maintaining its quest to find alternative ways to provide affordable smartphones for users while keeping its own costs down.
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