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Bmobile opening up the market for Smartphones Partners with Republic Bank to launch first handset financing campaign

Port of Spain, Trinidad - It was so logical one might ask why wasn’t it done sooner? The “it” is a new service plan being offered by the leading mobile service provider and backed by one of the leading banks in T&T. The bmobile “Smart Financing Offer” is giving existing postpaid customers the opportunity to get iPhones and Android-based Samsung devices (better known as Smartphones) for a monthly installment rate via their credit cards.

Customers will be able to access as much as $7,000 as their maximum loan amount and the financing will cover up to 90% of the cost of the phone so customers can walk away with a new device after making just a 10% down payment.

“Our drive is to put the latest Smartphone devices in the consumers’ hands, and give them the option of paying for it over a period of time as opposed to all up front” says Lisa Agard, Executive Vice President Bmobile. Agard explained that while the world is experiencing a Smartphone boom, the technology behind these devices is expensive. “It also doesn’t help that our relatively small market in Trinidad and Tobago means we really can’t purchase enough to get volume discounts from suppliers.So our dilemma is how do we keep T&T abreast with the rest of the world’s telecoms advances, and give buyers value for money?”

Agard said getting a major local bank involved and using the tested integrity and ease of credit card transactions meant none of the entities – consumers, the bank and bmobile – would be exposed to un-necessary risks in this multi-million dollar campaign. “Good, sustainable business means all the parties pull their weight so that all the parties can get the particular benefits that are important to them” said Agard. Post-paid mobile customers who are also local credit card holders have a measurable degree of predictability about managing mobile and credit card accounts so they are the best candidates for this plan. “Of course as this initiative evolves we can explore other categories for eligibility but for now, this is a good place to start” Agard stated.

Although the customer can only acquire $7,000 worth of handsets and can only make the maximum of a 10% down payment, that does not prevent them from making accelerated payments to the bank if they want to clear off the financing in less time than the 18 months that are allowed.

“At the end of the day, manufacturers are innovating with Smartphones at a phenomenal rate so their prices are not going down. If we were to wait for the time when devices reached lower prices, Trinidad and Tobago would fall way behind and devices would only be in the hands of a few. We want to use technology to level the playing field locally and make our consumers as technologically adept as any in developed countries.’

Agard also noted that there was a growing interest among local entrepreneurs for developing apps that run on Smartphones as these help their businesses. “The ecosystem for Smartphones is not just among bmobile, Republic Bank and consumers. Carnival stakeholders, Restauranteurs, the Movie theatre sector, the wider Entertainment industry, media owners, education institutions, retailers and even Government agencies all have services for which Smartphone apps can be and in some cases have been, developed to help the public interact with them in much more convenient and cost effective ways.”

Agard noted that bmobile was still the only provider that has a 4G high-speed wireless network and this essentially made it possible for Smartphones to perform the way they were designed to perform. “Our 4G service is extremely fast and second to none. When used by Smartphone owners, the Smartphone becomes an extremely powerful and versatile tool for business and personal management, entertainment and as a key to unlock a world of information, conveniently and affordably.”