news Struggling national mobile operator Vodafone this week launched a special offer on prices on its mobile plans for its flagship HTC Sensation XL and Samsung Galaxy S II handsets, with customers now able to pick up the smartphones for just $5 a month on a monthly plan costing $29 or higher.
The plans for the HTC Sensation XL and Samsung Galaxy S II, which earlier cost $10 per month on Vodafone’s capped plans of $49 or below, are now only $5 a month on the $29 Cap plan for 24 months, a saving of $120. In addition, the company has also levied similar price cuts on the cost of the handsets on higher value plans, and also started offering customers two months’ free network access on its high-powered Infinite plans.
The HTC Sensation XL is a music-oriented smartphone that comes with a 4.7” display and 16GB of internal storage. The phone comes with a finely engineered pair of stylish headphones. Running on an Android (2.3.5) and HTC Sense 3.5 graphics combo, it is expected to be upgraded to the Android Icecream sandwich next year. It has a custom music app that allows you to browse music, swipe album art and download album covers, set tracks as ringtones etc. It also comes with the HTC Sync desktop software that allows you to sync with iTunes. It is equipped with a backside-illuminated sensor for the 8.0 megapixel camera, which can be operated in multiple modes.
The Samsung Galaxy S II has a lightweight design with a 4.3” display and runs on the Android 2.3.3 platform. It has a 1.2GHz dual-core Exynos processor that is the fastest in the market. It uses Super AMOLED plus display technology and comes with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 3.0 and DLNA wireless media streaming capabilities. It has 16GB of internal storage and has options to plug in Micro SD cards and USB flash drives. It also has bonus software like Navigon GPS and hubs for games, social networking, reading and music, Polaris Office and basic photo and video editing apps.
Vodafone was in a rough patch last year when many customers deserted the service provider because of network issues like patchy connections and dropouts that plagued it from the end of 2010 to the early months of 2011. In December 2011, The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ordered Vodafone to fix its customer violations to avoid further penalties.
To address customer concerns, Vodafone has implemented many network improvements including new hardware and radio equipment. The company has also invested in customer service adding more than 300 staff for 24X7 support. Whether customers are able get over the past problems of Vodafone and buy the attractively priced contract plans remains to be seen.
If you don’t have a high-end smartphone yet, now could be a great time to pick one up. Whether it’s the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy S II, an Apple iPhone 4S or a model from the stellar HTC Sensation line, they’re all going now for fairly good prices, and especially so if you’re willing to put up with Vodafone’s poorer network service compared with a premium telco like Telstra.
On the other hand, the industry is also about to see a bunch of new handsets announced at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona. Some of those handsets may come to Australia sooner rather than later, and may be worth waiting for. And of course, many people expect Apple to release ‘the iPhone 5’, whatever that will be, later this year. But either way, it’s good times for those who love powerful smartphones. And who doesn’t ;)
Image credit: Samsung. Opinion/analysis by Renai LeMay