Supermarket offers phones for a fiver
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You don’t get much for a fiver these days, but Asda has begun connecting people with a claim that it's punting Britain’s lowest priced pay-as-you-go mobile.
Asda £5 phones: Sagem's My212x (far left), My220x (left), My150x (right) and Nokia's 1112 (far right)
Stroll into one of the supermarket chain's store and £5 (€7/$10) will get you one of four phones that Asda claims “cost less than the price of a toy mobile” – which says a lot about the phones on offer.
A battered old fiver will get you Nokia’s 1112, which doesn’t have a camera or colour screen to speak of, or the equally basic but slightly more stylish Sagem my150x. Sagem's My212x and My220x complete the quartet.
The offer isn’t available online, probably because the postage costs would be more than the phone...
Definitely a great deal, the Nokia 1100 is brilliant and I guess the same is probably true of the 1112. The battery last forever, it sends/receives calls and text messages, it's so robust you could throw it off a building and it will still work. Lots of hikers and climbers I've met carry these things with them because they are simple, dependable and cheaply replaced if they are lost in a bog.
I don't need a crappy camera in my phone, I've got an expensive one which takes much better pictures. I don't need an mp3 playing phone, I've got a player which packs in more features and costs far less. I don't need GPS, I'm literate and can read a map. I don't need expensive mobile bandwidth when hotels, cafes and any place I might ever want to drag my laptop has wifi. I could go on, but you get the point - I just want a phone and without paying stupid amounts of money for it.
Those knocking pay as you go obviously make too many calls for it to be worthwhile, but if you just make a handful of calls a month - like most people, then it's much better value than any contract. I use the land line at home/work and the mobile only rarely gets used to make calls when I'm outside - my £10 PAYG topups can be weeks apart. Ask yourself this, do you make calls to justify the contract minutes you get, or because you really need to make those calls?
I'm going to get a 1112, if the local chavsda still has one - as a backup to my iPhone. As much as I love the Jesus Phone, I don't like taking it on certain trips (riding bike, texting while walking down dark alleys, etc). It's a bit ridiculous I know, and probably points out how small the target market for the iPhone is, but it suits me. Meh.
Just the job
If they're still doing the offer when my current 3 year-old Sony Ericsson kicks the bucket, I'll be right along there. I don't need a camera, MP3 player, radio or kitchen sink on my phone, so a basic model for a fiver will do me nicely. And as for PAYG costing more - I currently top up £20 about every 3 months, so there's no point in me paying that much a month on some daft contract.
So yes, there's definitely a market for this sort of thing. Not so long ago, a retailer I worked for stocked a basic Samsung model for £20, but gave away a £10 gift voucher with each one - they flew out.
Love for simple phones ... Nokia 1100
I have a 1100 and it is still the most reliable phone I have ever owned. Lasts at least two weeks between charges - so long in fact, I kept forgetting to plug it in! And the torch was pretty damn useful - went to Glastonbury and it paid for itself several times over when I lost my wallet one night and found it using the torch in the mud.
"all those £5 and £10 top ups" - well, not everyone has verbal diaorrhea. I spend about £5-£10 quid a month - I went PAYG last year after a decade on contracts because none of the networks would offer me a contract that suited me. Why should I pay for a ton of texts and minutes I'm never going to use?
This is an offering that will suit a lot of people - probably not a majority, but still a lot. I might even grab a 1112 if it really does go a couple of weeks without a charge, as it would be handy when camping etc. It's the one failing of my 6500c...