Samsung wants to make it easier to get their latest Galaxy S20 5G phones – and a lot of extras – with a new Samsung Access for Mobile subscription. For one monthly fee, subscribers can choose from a Galaxy S20, S20+ or S20 Ultra 5G in any available color and memory, Samsung Premium Care, Microsoft 365 Personal on up to five devices (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Publisher, Access and Skype), 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage, and the ability to upgrade every nine months. Subscribers who want to upgrade earlier than nine months pay a $100 fee. Samsung summarizes the benefits of their Access for Mobile subscription in this introductory video.
“Samsung Access is a monthly subscription that gives you the ability to upgrade to the latest Samsung device, so you’re always on the forefront of what’s new without being tied down. Gain access to the latest Samsung products, plus Premium Care coverage and exclusive benefits, with one streamlined monthly payment,” says Samsung on their FAQs page.
There are a few restrictions with the Samsung Access for Mobile subscription, of course. Credit approval is required. To enroll in the Samsung Access for Mobile program, subscribers must have an approved Samsung Financing account, available through TD Bank, so not everyone will qualify. TD Bank requires a credit check, and a subscriber’s payment history will appear on their credit report. There is no long-term commitment, but if subscribers cancel within the first three months of their contract, there is a $100 cancellation fee. After that, no cancellation fee applies.
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One of the perks of the program is Samsung’s Premium Care protection program, which includes a 24/7 support line, online tutorials for learning how to use a Galaxy S20 phone and troubleshooting advice. Premium Care also covers a subscriber’s phone if it is dropped, spilled on or if it cracks. The protection plan has an extended warranty and a $99 deductible for accidental damage.
Pricing for the new subscription starts at $37 per month for the Samsung Galaxy S20 5G, including Premium Care, Microsoft 365 Personal and 1 TB of OneDrive cloud storage. Presumably, service through a mobile carrier is separate, though Samsung does not make this clear. They do, however, specify that the phones are compatible with most carriers' SIM cards. In the fine print, Samsung lists additional fees and conditions for Verizon and Sprint customers. For example, Sprint customers will pay a $30 fee per line.
Other items included with the phone are a USB connector and power adapter for charging, AKG earphones and an ejection pin. Samsung offers free shipping and contact-free delivery, door to door. Free returns are accepted for 30 days after delivery. For more information or to enroll, prospective subscribers can visit Samsung.com and select Offers.
While Samsung makes its Samsung Access for Mobile subscription look like the next big thing, it seems to be more of a new way to package things many of us are already paying for. For example, I am a Sprint customer, and I can purchase and upgrade my phone there, whether it is an iPhone or Galaxy (my household is split between Team iPhone and Team Android). I pay one monthly fee for my unlimited plan and my phones, and I handle any premium coverage, deductibles, upgrades and payments through Sprint. The product pricing is similar. In the new Samsung scenario, they are touting this as “one monthly bill,” but it seems like subscribers would pay for their Samsung phone to TD Bank with one bill, but their mobile carrier will be a separate bill.
There are a few advantages here though: (a) direct versus indirect subscription, (b) brand loyalty, (c) recurring revenue, and (d) Microsoft 365. If a smartphone user subscribes directly through Samsung, Samsung keeps 100% of the payment. They don’t have to share any of the revenue with a mobile carrier. This direct relationship with customers may also create brand loyalty and give Samsung additional opportunities to market other products directly to their customers.
With the subscription model too, Samsung transitions its customers to think of their products as subscription-worthy, not just one off purchases. This educates their customers while also providing the company with another revenue stream and some long-term financial sustainability. The biggest advantage for subscribers is the Microsoft 365 subscription. Though some of these apps are available for free on a mobile device, Samsung goes beyond those free apps.