I tried to buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 and only Vodacom would take my money

The Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge went on sale through mobile network operators and retailers around the country on 11 March.

After much deliberation, I decided to buy a Galaxy S7 Edge. I narrowed my choices down to two deals from MTN and Telkom.

Armed with pay slips, photo ID, freshly-printed bank statements, and proof of residence, I braved the malls of Tshwane.

I had a few criteria by which to measure the success of my venture:

  1. Will my application for a new contract be approved on the spot?
  2. Will I walk out of the store with my new phone?

If these two criteria were not met, I may as well have shopped online and avoided the driving – and human interaction – a visit to the mall forces upon you.

Below is an overview of my interactions with Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom.

Galaxy S7 Edge
Galaxy S7 Edge

Telkom – Failure

My quest began at Telkom, where I was eager to sign a SmartPlan 50 contract for R629 per month.

However, neither the Brooklyn nor Centurion branches of Telkom Direct had stock – Brooklyn was sold out, and Centurion had been robbed the day before.

A staff member directed me to a nearby Telkom Mobile store, which informed me that they have to send my documents to head office – where they can take anything from a few hours to a day to approve my contract.

Unfortunately, I already had plans to download and install a new Linux distribution that afternoon, so I wouldn’t be able to come back even if I did get approved.

No phone? No deal.

Cell C – Failure

While my next stop was MTN, I realised that (a) I actually really wanted the Telkom deal, and (b) I hadn’t seen Cell C’s pricing yet.

Unless Cell C offered better value, the rest of my visit to the mall would just be an information-gathering exercise.

Sadly, Cell C did not have better deals on offer. Its Epic contracts did not appeal to me, and its Pinnacle deals were too rich for my blood.

The helpful rep was able to “build a package” for me on a SmartChat 1GB, which would give me 1GB of data, 25 minutes, and the phone for R709 per month.

Since this deal was worse in every way compared to what I could get from MTN, I declined – at which point I was informed my bank statements would need to be stamped and they would have to do a confirmation of employment.

On a Sunday.

My boss would’ve loved getting that call, I’m sure.

MTN – Failure

MTN would give me a My MTNChoice S+ for R709 per month, but, like Cell C, needed stamped bank statements.

Unlike most other banks, my bank’s Centurion Mall branch was not open on a Sunday morning – making it impossible to get my statements stamped.

Vodacom – Success! (sort of)

Vodacom was willing to take my money on Sunday.

Can I walk out of here with the phone if I get approved?

Yes, sir.

Can I get approved right now?

Yes, sir.

But my bank statements aren’t stamped.

We do ask for stamped statements, but don’t worry, the sales rep will sort you out, sir.

Sadly, Vodacom’s deals didn’t suit my needs, otherwise they would’ve won themselves a contract subscriber.

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I tried to buy a Samsung Galaxy S7 and only Vodacom would take my money