French operator Orange has started offering a repair service through its network of retail stores, open to all smartphone owners in France regardless of which operator they subscribe to or where their handset was bought. Customers can use a dedicated online tool to receive a free quote. As part of the service, Orange will give an estimate on how quickly the repair can be carried out once the smartphone is dropped at one of its stores.
The operator’s website lists the pricing for four different types of intervention. For example, replacing a battery should cost between €39.00 (US $45.25) and €99.00 (US $114.86) depending on the model, while the charge for a new screen ranges from €69.00 (US $80.05) to €449.00 (US $520.92).
Advocates for the “right to repair” have recently been gaining ground in Europe, including France. While this concept is generally assumed to refer to the end user, it also covers the ability of third-party repairers to work on devices. In this case, through its retail stores Orange will be the third-party repair service provider, offering device owners the option of saving money by having a damaged smartphone fixed rather than replacing it at significantly greater cost. The free online quote adds appeal by offering transparency and an up-front indication of how much value the device owner will be deriving from the repair.
Also important is the fact that the repair service is available to those who are subscribers of other mobile operators and/or did not purchase their device through Orange. By getting users into Orange retail stores, the repair service will make not only make them well-disposed toward the operator but cause them to become aware of its range of mobile plans and other services. Eventually, some of them will likely switch providers and become Orange subscribers. The repair offer could be the beginning of a process of welcoming customers into the operator’s ecosystem. Of course, in order for this to be as effective as possible, the range of repair services offered should be extensive enough and the prices low enough to have broad appeal.