Order from China before everyone starts doing so – episode 1

My son loves playing with phones. He owns two Blackberries, an office phone and two very colourful phones which say the number in German when he presses a key. He just got as a present the Fisher Price phone on wheels that I had when I was his age, and I’m not sure he’s figured out it fell in the same category. He’s 18 months old and spends as long as we do speaking on the phone to his imaginary team. Fast as he is, he sometimes grabs our cells while we’re not watching, and about a month ago he ran away with my wife’s Blackberry. He ran to the bathroom and threw it into the toilet. He knows how to use the flush but chose not to do so this time. One phone dead, however. It was a Blackberry, you might be thinking, probably one of the last ones in use in this country in 2014. So we saved the SIM card and put it in a pre-smartphone-era Samsung. As this old-fashioned temporary solution was driving my wife crazy, I decided to go shopping for a new smartphone.

The criteria were quite easy to determine. The only phone I like is the iphone, she told me. She already has one, with another SIM inside, but for various reasons on which I’ll not elaborate here it’s not being used right now. I tried “put the SIM you use in the phone you like”, but that was clearly showing my ignorance of how a woman solves problems. So two phones were needed, and the second phone was to be cheap and easy to use. I suggested Android or Windows Phone (what else is there anyway?), with the argument that Android was basically a clone of the iphone’s iOS. My phone is easy to use, isn’t it? I asked. It’s not, I got back. It’s much more complicated than an iphone, and nothing is as good as an iphone anyway. But hey, Android still allows to have a cheap version of an iphone, so that’s the route I followed with her blessings.

I started at home. Home is Morocco, where three telecom operators sell a small selection of highly priced phones. After some online and instore exploring, I abandoned the idea of buying locally. Samsung is king here, and besides Samsung the choice is limited. There’s the black market, any local will answer, but I’m not a big fan of the black market, it feels like shopping five years ago with my feet in the mud.

I have this personal project to bring the world to my door. I know it sounds like an advertisement. You now know about our son, and we choose not to travel the world in this baby period of our life. The thing is, I get frustrated while living too long without boarding a plane, so “the world to my door” is my way of compensating for this temporary situation.

I first travelled virtually to Dubai and started exploring online shopping. From a distance, Dubai appears to be the Great Kingdom of Electronics and Luxury. I’ll post later on where to shop online in Dubai and how to get delivered in your country for a decent price. Taking the 4” Galaxy S3 mini as my reference: the price is 400€ with our local Maroc Telecom (cheaper of course if you package it with a 24-month subscription), 225€ on the local hmall.ma online shop, 190€ on France’s Amazon and 150€ on Dubai’s uae.souq.com. Delivery cost does need to be taken in consideration, but it wouldn’t change the fact that it’s much cheaper to order from Dubai than locally or from France. I then continued to India, where it seems to sell around 170€, although difficult to find. I’ll also elaborate later on what to order from India, with some local help. Working in the IT sector for some time means knowing someone in Bangalore or Hyderabad, doesn’t it?

Continued here.



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