Are the deals in GITEX Shopper really worth it?
Eva Fernandes braves the far reaches of Dubai Airport Expo and the dreaded public mayhem of Gitex promotions and bargains to find out, are the discounts really worth it?
October 10, 2011 12:12 by Eva Fernandes
As I walked into the buzzing halls of GITEX I was overwhelmed by the fresh-faced college students screaming about “irresistible offers” from their podiums. Some were walking about hoisting white boards above their heads and others were furiously distributing leaflets. Maybe it’s because the medication is working, or maybe it’s because I was in at noon, but the crowds weren’t as intimidating as I remembered them to be.
For a good part of my first hour at the Dubai Airport Expo, I went from stall to stall inquiring about the special offers on smartphones. Naively, I expected to see at least some kind of discount in the phones on sale, yet what I found was what is commonly accepted by most GITEX shoppers. Though there aren’t real discounts on mobile phones as such, GITEX provides the shopper with a lot of freebies.
Take for instance the first stall that I walked into, CompuMe. For every Blackberry Torch 9860 one bought, the team threw in a free car charger and an original Blackberry bluetooth headset. Then there are the special GITEX “bundles” where stores offer two products at a discounted price: a Blackberry Curve and Playbook for under Dh2k from Jacky’s. But if these aren’t enough to tempt you, surely the good ol’ scratch and win offer from HTC, for buying any one of their phone, may be enough to tempt you.
Given that the phones aren’t any cheaper here at GITEX, I was hoping to save a few dirhams by snagging a great deal with one of the telecos, as I mentioned earlier. But before I go on any further, I have a confession to make, though I said I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted I did have an inclination towards the Samsung Galaxy S series. I was first introduced to the phone by a colleague. I played around with it at work and thought it was a pretty smooth, sweet-looking phone. It was easy to use and pretty to play with. There were other phones on my mind, like the cool Blackberry Torch and the Sony Ericsson Xperia Ray. But pushed for a choice, it would probably be the Samsung Galaxy; both for its attractive interface and even more attractive price.
But back to my cunning, albeit misguided, attempts to snag a deal here at GITEX; as I approached the Samsung store, the young salesman, or should I say sales boy (complete with a very Bieber-esque hairdo), enlightened me of a fantastic deal from du. Apparently if you bought a few members of the Samsung Galaxy family from du, you would walk away with a data package of 1 GB every month for an entire year. Already congratulating myself for proving the naysayers wrong, my happiness lasted until I walked up to the du stall to seal the deal.
At du, I had the misfortune of dealing with, what would have to be, two of the silliest girls in the world. After teasing the information out of them, I came to realise that the special offer with the Samsung phone comes at a price – Dh100 a month to be specific. It is actually a great deal – providing you go with a 1 GB data package, 100 minutes of both local and international calls each, 50 local and international SMSes each. No doubt a good deal, in a country where a data package with “free calling time+smses” and 10 MB of data costs no less than Dh99 a month. Whereas in du, if you just wanted a data package of 1 GB only, you would be set back by Dh200 a month, in Etisalat the charge for the same is Dh145 a month. A bit of a difference, but still too steep in my opinion.
And while I felt almost convinced that I had found the GITEX offer for me, I got severely tempted when I approached the Etisalat podium. There is an excellent offer for the Blackberry Bold 9900: you pay Dh1,299 for the device (which ordinarily is something around Dh2,500) as long as you commit to one of their postpaid packages, Seeing as telecos in the UAE have some of the best data plans for the Blackberry phones, with the price of the social package costing as low as…
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