Digi, this is not how the Galaxy S20 instalment plan should work

[ UPDATE 14/02/2020 21:00 ] Digi will soon offer a RM0 upfront option for new customers that plan to get the Galaxy S20. More details here.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 series was launched recently to much fanfare, with three variants announced: the Galaxy S20, S20+, and the S20 Ultra 5G. And with official availability to begin on the 6th of February 2020, pre-orders for the Galaxy S20 series have already opened to the public, along with gifts such as Galaxy Buds+.

We’ve already looked at the pre-order offers from Maxis and Celcom—next up on the list: Digi.

Digi PhoneFreedom 365

Digi only has the Samsung Galaxy S20 and S20+ available for pre-order, with no sign of the range-topping Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. Pre-orders are available under Digi’s PhoneFreedom 365, with 3 postpaid plans for the S20+ and 4 plans for the Galaxy S20. You have the Digi Postpaid 80 with GBoost, Postpaid 120, Postpaid 160, and Postpaid 190. The first 250 pre-order customers who pre-order the Galaxy S20 will get a free wireless charger, while Galaxy S20+ customers will get the wireless charger, and a pair of Galaxy Buds+ while stocks last.

Meanwhile, you have identical plans that you can pre-order the Galaxy S20+ with, although there is no option for the Digi Postpaid 80 plan here. But if you look carefully at the images above, you’ll notice that there is no mention of an advanced payment or anything of the sort.

Everything still looks dandy so far, right? After all, when you first open the Galaxy S20 section on Digi’s website, you see this:

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The page promises the lowest all-in monthly payment plan, and one of the highlights of the package is the RM0 upfront payment. Essentially, I’d imagine that I would be able to sign up for the phone, and pay next to nothing at the counter. Right? Plus, there’s no asterisk next to the “Upfront Payment” text.

So here’s where things start to get a little sketchy. If you proceed to click the “pre-order now” button at the bottom of the page, you’ll be asked to fill in some information on whether you’re porting over from another telco, starting a new line, or you’re a pre-existing Digi customer. Pretty standard stuff.

But then, you look over at the Price Summary, and lo and behold, there’s now a “Device Advance Payment”. Let me be clear: there’s nothing wrong with an advanced payment, and plenty of telcos require it during sign-up—usually, it’s rebated back to customers.

Depending on the plan you choose, you’re also paying a figure between RM83–RM126 per month for the phone, which isn’t an unreasonable amount. But what in the world was Digi thinking when they decided to stick in an advance payment for more than RM3,000? You might as well top up a few hundred Ringgit and outright buy the S20 with no contract.

For some comparison, the advance required for the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G only tops out at RM954 for the pre-order with Maxis. Even with Celcom, the highest upfront payment that’s required is RM1,000—which will be rebated in the first month’s bill, as opposed to the 24-month rebate that Digi is offering. Even Maxis’ advanced payment is rebated back within the first 12 months of billing.

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And to make things worse, why is the price of the “Samsung Galaxy S20” in the screenshot above listed at RM0? You’re paying RM83 per month under “Device Instalments”, and you’re also paying an upfront advance—hardly RM0.

I also called Digi’s customer service to see if their representatives could shed any light on the matter. Apparently, the upfront payment is only levied upon new customers who haven’t been with Digi for 8 months and above, although there doesn’t seem to be information on this within their terms & conditions.

In fact, the strange thing here is that the only thing that I can find within the T&Cs that is remotely close to that requirement is MNP or port-in customers need to show 3 months of billing to be eligible.

And you have bits of misinformation like the above, where Digi mentions 5G in their description of the S20 and the S20+. In case you missed it, 5G is only supported in the range-topping Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G—which isn’t available from Digi, for some reason.

Digi’s PhoneFreedom 365 plans are instalment plans, which are supposed to cater for those who want to buy the latest flagships, but aren’t willing to fork out a ton of cash upfront.

Instead, Digi’s pre-order packages are literally the opposite of a good deal. Look at it this way: Why would you take an instalment plan where you have to pay almost the full price of the device upfront, and be tied to a 24 month contract while you’re at it?

For more information on Digi’s pre-order plans for the Samsung Galaxy S20 series, click here.

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