My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel's Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme - How Digicel benefits from Trading Old Cellphones for Smartphones with Jasmine for Plants vs Zombies upgrade

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Digicel's Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme - How Digicel benefits from Trading Old Cellphones for Smartphones with Jasmine for Plants vs Zombies upgrade

“Digicel is always looking to deliver value to our customers. With the launch of the Trade-in programme, we are making it easier and more affordable for customers from all networks to own a smartphone while helping to promote environmental conservation and protection. In addition, customers who take advantage of the programme, meaning non­Digicel customers can join the region's biggest family on the fastest and most reliable network”

Digicel Group Chief Commercial Officer, Claudio Hidalgo commenting on their Trade-In Loyalty Points Programme

Telecom Provider Digicel, it seems, has finally grown a conscience as it relates to the pollution potential of old cellphones. I wish I could say the same about Telecom Provider LIME.

In a bid to make purchasing a smartphone much easier, they have begun a Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme service where the truly Loyal Digicel Customer can carry in their old cellphones, be they Digicel or LIME and exchange them for points towards the purchase of a new smartphone.

So says the Press Release by Digicel in the article “Digicel launches Trade­In Programme”, 28 May 2015 by Digicel, Go-Jamaica.

Their aim is to make it easier for aficionados of Digicel to acquire a smartphone and keep up with the latest in smartphones, as not everyone has JA$10,000 to splash on a DL800 of DL900 smartphone as explained in my blog article entitled “JA$6,950 DL750 and JA$8,250 DL800 on Sale at Digicel – Alcatel One Touch Pop C1 as ZTE Force Awakens and Alcatel’s Empire Strikes Back”.

Digicel’s Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme – Plants vs Zombies upgrade that kills more Cellphone Zombies

It also falls in line with Digicel's “Go Green” Philosophy, which can be clearly seen from their solar powered Headquarters on Ocean Boulevard. This is not the first time that Digicel has done a Trade-In Program for old Cellphones.

Back in June 2014, Digicel Foundation in collaboration with the Jamaica Association on Intellectual Disabilities had collected old cellphones in exchange for Tablets, Keyboard cases and Mouse as reported in my blog article entitled “Digicel Foundation swap cellphones for Tablets for Autistic Children - How Cellphone Recycling makes money as we drown in Electronic Waste and Noise”.

And when CLARO was in Jamaica back in 2009, they had also briefly introduced a trade-in facility with the idea of customer getting an upgraded cellphone in exchange for their working older cellphone.

The difference here is that they’ve tied it to their Loyalty Points system, which has also undergone some changes since February 2014 where they made changes to the Loyalty Points system as noted in my Geezam blog entitled “Digicel Loyalty Points now expire on a yearly basis”.

Digicel's Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme – Modern day Arabian Nights story about Aladdin and the Magical Lamp

The idea of swapping something old for something new has existed in human folklore in stories such as the Arabian Nights story about Aladdin and the Magical Lamp.

The story picks up after Aladdin had escaped from the hole in the middle of the desert using the Magical genie in the lamp that he’d refused to give the evil Sorcerer. The Sorcerer soon discovered that Aladdin, who was now living with Princess Jasmine, had the magical lamp that he had failed to acquire from the lad when he had sent him down in the hole in the desert in the first place.

So the Sorcerer conceived a clever plan. He bought some old lamps and went thought the city where Aladdin lived, crying, “Old Lamps for New”, gradually working his way towards the Palace.

In so doing, he was able to acquire the Lamp from Princess Jasmine, who was not aware that Aladdin’s newfound wealth came from the Genii who live in that old Lamp.

And like the evil Sorcerer, Digicel stands to gain from the collection of old cell phones, as these cell phones a lot more valuable than the Loyalty Points as well as the smartphone you’ll get for your efforts.

Digicel's Trade-in Loyalty Points Programme - How Digicel benefits from Trading Old Lamps for New

For one, in order to return the cellphone, be it Digicel or LIME, the cellphone and the charger has to be in fairly good working order. The customer is not given money but instead given Loyalty points towards purchasing a smartphone.

This suggests that you have to have been buying a lot of credit within the year in order to have sufficient points accumulated to make up the total needed to buy certain smartphones as their Loyalty Points now expire every year my Geezam blog entitled “Digicel Loyalty Points now expire on a yearly basis”.

Digicel had changed the points system back in February 2014 without much fanfare, causing me to write a complaint blog article entitled “Digicel cancels their Caribbean ‘Roam Like You're Home’ and removes rollover of Digicel Loyalty Points”.
Instead, you are charged JA$1.00 to check your loyalty points using the following USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) codes:

1.      *120*3#
2.      *131#
3.      Text “points” to 444-2402

Meanwhile Digicel can now clean the cellphones and through a third-party company such as Facey Commodity, they can sell these cellphones to companies that refurbish them. These refurbished cellphones are then sold to Telecom Providers in other countries where basic access to GSM (Global Systems Mobile) Communication is just beginning to evolve.

If the phone is severely damaged, it can still be recycled for its rare-Earth Metals such as Tellerium, Ytterbium, Dyspropium, Copper, Gold and Lithium from Batteries. This is much better than allowing these batteries in these discarded smartphones staying in the Dump.

Within the improperly supervised Dump, the Li-Ion Batteries would leech their toxic Rare earth Metals into the soil whenever it rains, contaminating the groundwater and polluting the air whenever the Riverton City Dump catches on fire as argued in my blog article entitled “NSWMA e-Waste Collection Initiative – Telecom Providers, Jamaica's E-Waste Problem and Starting Electronics Manufacturing Industry”. 

So albeit their methods appears sinister, Aladdin and the Magical Lamp style, this is possibly the best development to be announced by Telecom Provider Digicel. Despite the fact that they'll gain from it financially, at least the truly loyal Digicel customer can use their accumulated points to buy a smartphone and in the process save the Earth.

The Ball is now in Telecom Provider LIME's court to do the same.

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