All hardware we supply is not locked to any network and we have can have SIMs from multiple networks (where capable). This allows you to change networks or suppliers at will, without the fuss of having to get equipment unlocked, paying for the unlocking service and all the ramifications that go with it, including the delays and retention tactics presented when choosing another supplier. As a multi-network vendor and champion of good customer service, this is not burden we impose upon our clients, we would rather help you find the best deal (see below).
We are happy with any customer that wants to retain their current hardware and as most versions are universal, we would glad to manage those devices for you. If we have the serial number of the device, we can check in advance if it is locked to a particular network and will help you obtain the unlock code so you can use it with any network. We have a guide for each network’s procedure.
Phones are getting bigger with 6” screens now the devices of choice for most users. The batteries too are getting bigger but enable the devices to last all day without a recharge (in many cases, previous generation batteries would often run out of steam by late afternoon). Cameras are also getting very sophisticated and security is improving, with fingerprint and face ID becoming mainstream. NFC payment options are now popular (pandemic planning), while 5G is now available on most mid-range devices, 4G remains wholly adequate for most, with 98% UK coverage.
As many have found out during a succession of lockdowns, more home working and video conferencing has meant investment in decent video capability, longer battery life and larger screen size are all advantageous. NFC payment aids touchless activity. Fortunately, even a starter device like a Samsung A12 now has all these capabilities.
In general, Midland Telecom can supply any choice of device that you want to use. We prefer to make our customers aware that most manufacturers now ‘batch’ manufacture models. If it is successful, they might have an option to produce more, but it is very much a case of “when they are gone, they are gone” enabling the brand to move on to the next model they are designing, while the current model is being distributed. This causes difficulties in supporting these devices with spares like screens, batteries and finding a decent choice of low-cost accessories such as, cases and screen protectors. There is also limited facilities to repair these devices economically.
Apple is the champion of having a three-generation timeline of previous models. This consistent production of the previous two models, is a major boost to a fleet user. Obtaining the same model they chose two years ago, for additional units to the fleet, is valuable in not causing friction with a new starter because they have a better phone than existing fleet users.
It also means accessory manufacturers have a large, predictable market to sell accessories into. This leads to low prices, high availability, wide choice and consistent supply, even years after first purchasing the phone. This also is true for obtaining low-cost OEM batteries, replacement screens and general repairs.
The handsets have a predicted service lifecycle of around three years, and they benefit from being high quality and easy to use. Cost is a downside, which devices starting at £300+, giving the lowest costs of use, around £100 per annum per user.
Resale values are 20-30% of new, provided handsets are kept in good condition with a gel case and screen protector.
Warranty is 12-months, although as the devices are high quality, faults are rarely an issue.
Samsung does have a consistent range of handsets and refreshes them each year with improved models. So, the A10 becomes the A11, becomes the A12 and so on. Again, high production levels attract accessory and OEM spare manufacturers, with plenty of choice and service competition.
Like the iPhone, the handsets are usually good for three years of service and are high quality and easy to use. Where they score over Apple is on cost, with Samsung devices the advantage is they start at £120+, giving the lowest cost for a fleet user of around £40 per annum per user. Resale values are 10-20% of new, provided handsets are kept in good condition with a gel case and screen protector.
Warranty is 24 months, but again, these are high-quality devices and do not suffer many issues.
These two brands supply the lower end of the market. A more flexible purchase would be one with Bluetooth for car integration. With prices ranging between £15 to £45, they are good value, and the battery life is around a week!
Beware the rest of the market including Google, Motorola, Huawei, One plus, LG, Xiaomi and others. These are all batch production orientated. Spares, accessories and repairs are not as widely available as the two mainstream brands and we have had experiences with poor aftersales service, long wait times and indifferent responses to whether they will repair under warranty and with very high repair costs to screens.
For a busines or fleet user that might have to get three years usage out of a device, we have the following pieces of advice:
Stick to popular main brands - Apple and Samsung for smartphones and Nokia and Caterpillar for basic phones. Apple and Samsung are best for tablets. What are the benefits of this?
With the introduction of their models, the popular manufacturers have all decided to remove chargers from handset supply (although they still supply a charger with a tablet). Apple opts to supply a lightening (phone end) - to USB-C male (on the socket end) and this lead does not fit the old charger (which has a standard USB female connector). So, users cannot charge the phone if they do not have a laptop with a USB-C female connector available (for the lead supplied by Apple without a charger).
Then Apple are charging £20 for a charger with a USB-C female to fit the lead they enclose with the device.
All Apple devices from iPhone 8 onwards have a wireless charging facility but the wireless charger is another £39. We offer one for £9.95 or offer the option of an accessory pack with one included for £14.95 (screen, case, lead, wireless charger)
The simplest way to solve this issue is we will supply a low cost, lightening lead with the connector for the old charger (lightening male to USB standard Male) for just £2. The full accessory pack is £7.95, which includes screen, case and lead.
The cost of an Apple extended warranty can be questioned as these quality brands just do not go wrong very often. Shock and water damage are the most common reasons for a repair. These are covered under AppleCare+®. This has a hefty price tag and a very high excess. If you damage your screen twice it works out at 2 x £25 excess, plus £150 policy, so £200, or £100 a time. In addition, you are only allowed two claims. The £150 excess for a lost phone claim and the cost of the insurance combined - £175 - is about the cost of the refurbished handset Apple give you as a replacement.
Better to do the maths on this topic to understand the value of insurance.
The insurance will typically have a £25-£50 excess for each claim (this combined with the cost of the insurance easily pays for a couple of normal screen repair charges).
In the ‘small print’ these polices are likely to reject many lost handset claims on account you ‘left it out of your sight’, so, unless you have a person that persistently damages or loses their phone (while in full view at the times), consider investing the £3 a month, per phone, in a small stock of spare handsets and purchasing some accessories to reduce repairs.
£3 a month, which would accumulate as follows:
50 users x £3 month x 24 months = £3,600, which is enough to buy at least 10 spare iPhone SEs and replace 20% of your fleet.
Furthermore, if you have some spare devices, you can instantly deploy these to a needy user (using a cloud restore), rather than try and claim on some long-winded claims process with uncertain success.
If you are unfortunate enough to have a small group of users that break their phones or lose them, insurance might be suitable just for that them (you can get insurance for 1, 3 or 5 users). The claims can then be pooled for the group, so one user can make several claims. We use a Supercover policy for this, which we think offers the most flexible solution.
It is not practical to leave a user waiting several days for a phone repair, so always have in your budget at least enough for one spare phone per 50 users. This will come in handy for any new starters that suddenly need a phone, the odd lost phone or a cracked screen. If you can issue a new phone right away, there will be no disruption to your productivity and the user is able to resume normal duties. That allows you to ‘repair the spare’ and have it back in a few days, without all the pressure to get it done overnight (which is typically impossible). We can obtain quotes for you to repair phones (with the benefit of a picture) and the lead time and cost. We are happy for you to seek a local repair without the cost of couriers. Some mobile repairers will come to your office or home.
We are happy for you to make arrangements for your own repairs but please bear in mind, using a local repairer could void your warranty.