Samsung has declared war on Huawei with the launch of its Galaxy A9, its most comprehensive attack on the twin threats of SIM-only subscribers and the Chinese giant Huawei. Samsung can now offer a stronger mid-range choice, trade-in deals and guaranteed better turnaround on faults and repairs.
Mid-range smartphone sales grew 46% in the UK last year, now accounting for 21% of the market. On top of this customers are increasingly using SIM-only deals while keeping their devices for far longer than previously.
But it is the appearance of Huawei and its Honor brand that has finally seen Samsung enter the mid-range market. Last year Huawei shipped 95 million phones and makes the most competitive devices with price ranges between £300 and £500. Huawei has been able to produce economies of scale rivals have just not been able to match as well as developing its own chips.
Likewise, cheaper Huawei models such as the Met 20 Lite, which retails at £379 contains much of the technology of their more expensive models. This is something Samsung wants to emulate.
The Galaxy A9 should be priced at £549 almost the same price as last year’s flagship Galaxy S8, which Samsung will continue to sell and support.
And it is in the area of support that Samsung feel they have the edge. Responding to market forces many phone makers, including BlackBerry, Sony and HTC have cut back on their service. Not so Samsung.
We’re looking at customer service in terms of how quickly we can turn around a device fix. The goal is you’re never more than 24 hours from having a phone fixed and repaired. We’re working with our partners outside our service stores to see how we can do a one-hour fix. And logistics services to collect your phone.- Kate Beaumont: Director of Product, Services and Strategies, Samsung UK
Ms Beaumont also highlighted the introduction of services such as Samsung Pay into the mid-range devices and promises that further services will become available.
And Samsung has introduced better trade-in deals as it seeks to keep customers on board. With the market becoming saturated giving customers a trade-in will, Samsung said, bring the price down another level.