Huawei copies Samsung on free screen repair in SA

Johannesburg - Chinese phone maker Huawei will offer free screen repair for its flagship P8 smartphone in South Africa as the company takes a page out of Samsung’s book.

On Thursday night, Huawei launched its R7 999 P8 smartphone in Johannesburg at an event that hosted approximately 600 attendees.

The P8 - which features a 5.2” 1080p display, Android 'Lollipop' 5.0, 3GB RAM, a 13 megapixel main camera and an 8 megapixel front-facing camera - has finally arrived in South Africa after being launched in London in April.

The device is available at limited outlets on Friday with full availability expected by the end of July. Major operators Vodacom, MTN, Telkom and Cell C will also stock the device.

However, a new feature for Huawei is its 'Select' offer, which allows owners of the P8 to get two free repairs during a 24 month contract period.

Executives of the phone company said the repairs can cover two screen replacements or two liquid damage - logic board - replacements. Alternatively, the offer covers one of each of these replacements as well.

Huawei also said that it has customer care centres to help process the replacements. The ‘Select’ offering is also targeted at being rolled out across Africa.

“We have therefore focused heavily on building strong technical capabilities across African countries by training technicians and independent repair centers to ensure that our consumers are assured of the highest level of support,” said Huawei in a statement.

The replacement offering from Huawei in South Africa, though, echoes that of Samsung’s ADH, or ‘Accidental Damage from Handling’ service for the Samsung Galaxy S4 device.

Under ADH, Galaxy S4 owners qualify for two screen damage repairs only, or two liquid damage repairs only, or one screen damage repair and one liquid damage repair only.

However, at R 7 999, the Huawei P8 comes in at almost half the price of the Samsung S6 Edge which costs over R16 000 from Vodacom.

Huawei is taking on bigger rivals with its P8 phone in South Africa. (Huawei)

Phone makers' race to offer better after-sales service comes as the South African smartphone market heats up.

A number of low cost smartphones have hit the South African market this year with the likes of Vodacom launching its R799 Smart 6 Android device and Microsoft launching its R1 149 Lumia 435.

Subsequently, South African smartphone usage is expected to top 23.6 million users this year, up from 19 million in 2014, according to the managing director of World Wide Worx Arthur Goldstuck.

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