Firm pioneers phone rental
Yuemmai lines up high-end gizmos
The country's first mobile rental service has been launched to cater to customers who want to change their handsets every year.
The service is provided by Yuemmai (Thailand) Co, a joint venture 51% held by smartphone distributor Gold Elite Paris and 49% by SCP Plc, a leading electricity and technology manufacturer.
High-end cameras, computers, electric cars and electric motorbikes are also part of the company's rental plans within the next 90 days.
Customer data will be compiled for credit scores to provide a better rental model service in the future. The company plans to list on the stock market within 18 months.
"We spent 14 months seeking strategic partners to offer Thailand's first smartphone rental services for customers wanting the latest technology," said Sutikiat Kittipattrakul, chief executive of Yuemmai.
According to global research firm Canalys, the country's smartphone sales fell 8.6% to 19.2 million units from 2017 to 2018 as the market is saturated.
It also found Thais usually change their smartphones every 18-24 months.
Some 36% of Thais hold their mobile phones more than two years, 35.2% change them every 1-2 years, 18.8% change them between six months and one year and 10.3% change them every six months, according to the research.
The Yuemmai application can be downloaded via iOS and Android operating systems and users needs to have credit cards for smartphone rental fees to be deducted every month, stretching for a year.
The company offers only new smartphones for users with or without SIM cards provided by AIS.
They can be delivered to customers in Bangkok within 2-3 days and in provinces across the country within five days.
The firm also has a call centre to provide assistance regarding data transfer from existing mobile phones to the new handsets, as well as how to delete data before customers return the phones.
The company initially offers four iPhone models for one-year rental: iPhone XS MAX, XR, 8 Plus and 7 Plus.
Yuemmai partner Muang Thai Insurance will provide insurance coverage for customers, who have to pay only 10% of the repair cost in case of damages, such as cracked screens.
COM7 Plc will provide service points through their Icare shops, while Siam Commercial Bank will deal with credit card payments.
"We aim to provide rental services for users who need to change devices every year, with costs at least 25% lower than buying new handsets," said Mr Sutikiat.
For example, an iPhone XR rental fee -- a monthly cost of 2,199 baht -- with an unlimited SIM card would cost over 20,000 baht a year, while buying the same device worth 29,000 baht with a 12-month mobile internet plan would cost over 37,000 baht, he said.