Samsung suspends phone swap promo

Samsung Ghana has suspend a smartphone swap promo intended to end August 31, 2014.

The company introduced the promo earlier this month offering users of all brands of handsets; Nokia, Blackberry, Apple, Tecno, Huawei, Alcatel Onetouch, LG, HTC and others brands of mobile smartphones, the opportunity to swap their used phones for new Samsung phones and tablets, and pay the difference where necessary.

The promo faced a backlash, as group of phone dealers whose main stay was swapping old handsets for new or fairly used phones got angry at it and threatened to go burn down Samsung shops.

Representatives of other handset brands also questions what Samsung was going to do with the different brands of handsets they would be taking from users before giving them Samsung handsets.

Some legal practitioners also stated that the promo raises intellectual property issues, because to the extent that Samsung was collecting other brands of phone, to purportedly destroy them, meant they were violating the intellectual rights of the developers of those handsets.

Meanwhile some competitors of Samsung in Ghana rubbished the promo as a lame attempt to revive their declining market share.

One industry player said Samsung’s market share had been declining because their main distributor, i2 Ghana, who helped them to get to number one on the market, had taken on other brands like Huawei, Alcatel and LG for distribution.

“They (Samsung) are doing this out of fear of losing substantial market share but it will still happen no matter what they do,” another said.

One said “this is pure ambush marketing intended to phase out other brands but it is not sustainable – ambush marketing is legit but I bet Samsung is walking a very slippery road because now consumers are very insightful and they know what they want.”

That industry player also argued that the sales and marketing people at Samsung have their jobs to protect and so they are employing a hardline measure but it is completely subject to the consumers’ taste.

Another industry player said “this is a legitimate aggressive marketing strategy intended to kill other brands. What we can do in response it to have a have a similar strategy or much stronger one to neutralize what Samsung is doing and to sustain our brand.”

One other Samsung competitor said they were going to review the whole move before they commented.

Industry Watchers
Some industry watchers thought the move by Samsung was purely a marketing strategy subject to consumers’ choice.

They even likened it to the ongoing Mobile Number Portability (MNP) system in Ghana, where phone users practically traded their SIM cards on one network for another SIM card on another network but with the same phone number.

“If a telco chooses to do an aggressive MNP campaign, their competitors cannot accuse them of unfair practice. In the same way competition cannot accuse Samsung of unfair practice. It is purely a matter of choice – it will deepen competition and ultimately inure to the benefit of the consumer in terms of price cuts,” one watcher said.

Meanwhile phone users welcomed the promo and some rushed to the designated Samsung shops to swap their phones, but were disappointed to find the promo was not running in all Samsung shops.

But Samsung has since suspended the promo indefinitely without stating exactly why they did.

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