Why are smartphone spare parts and service so expensive? I know that expensive is a relative term but if we compare the price of the phone to the spare parts cost and service charge something does not add up. Picture smartphone A which goes for 120USD but the touch screen goes for 100USD. What about smartphone B which costs 70USD but the main board or motherboard goes for 100USD. These are facts but I won’t mention any brand names while comparing spare part costs here.
First of all most smartphone manufactures offer one year warranty on their products. This means that you get free service and spare parts from the date of purchase till the next year, provided the phone does not have any physical damage that makes your phone malfunction. This rules out cracked screens and liquid damage.
Short Smartphone lifetime
The lifetime is also set at one year (more or less) except that no merchant or manufacturer will ever tell you this. (Or admit it either). That’s because smartphones are evolving year after year. That’s why every year or so you will hear of LG Optimus G, LG G2, LG G3, LG G4 or maybe Samsung Galaxy S, S1, S2, S3, S4, S5 and so on. For every smartphone that stops being manufactured, the same goes for spare parts as well as software updates after a couple of years.
So after probably one and a half years or less the consumer is supposed to buy the latest model of their liking even if nothing had happened to the previous model. That’s the best customer big brands have, a loyal customer.
Number of units that need service
Infinix sells an average of 50,000 smartphones per month. This is around 600,000 units per year. How many of these units need warranty service? How many phones do you think the customer service staff at all Carlcare centres repair? Well it’s less than 1 percent. That’s close to 6000 phones per year or 500 or so phones per month countrywide.
So if a company sells 50,000 units per month and only 500 or less units return for repair then this will drive the following point home. Importing 500 various spare parts like touch screens, main boards, speakers, batteries and others from China is much more expensive than importing One million smartphones. What tales have you heard from Carlcare regarding Tecno and Infinix phones?
Complex manufacturing process
For us to have slim smartphones with big screens and sometimes big batteries the manufacturing process is quite complex and automated. That’s why some phones have internal batteries and others non removable back covers. Repairing these types of phones is usually not easy. This also sends us back to point number one, short lifespan and expensive spare parts. What we see in most cases is that the customer is forced to buy a touch screen together with the LCD even if only the touch screen is broken. That’s because it’s very hard to only replace the touch screen. That’s why the spare part comes as two parts as one. Swollen internal batteries are another case, it’s never the same because you are forced to buy the battery as well as the bent battery cover.
And finally the conspiracy theory that says smartphone spare parts are cheap (or very cheap). It’s just that manufactures don’t want to repair your phone. It’s another way of saying that it’s time to buy a brand new phone.
So if you are the kind of customer that holds on to a phone for 5 years, don’t be shocked if the service centre guys quote a price equal to buying the latest model in the market plus credit.