Retention, when a subscriber renews his contract is always a problem. Back in 2003, I was a Globe subscriber. Back than phones were expensive, and Globe Telecom did not give away phones on a regular basis. I had my 5 or 6 year old Nokia 2110, on its 4th battery, and the phone was starting to fall apart. The plastic around the antenna had cracked a year before crack was now spreading to the case. I tried to apply for a new phone, but only spending Php1,200 to Php1,500 a month I did not qualify for a free phone. On my way out of the Globe Business Center in Shangri-La EDSA, a Smart Communications asked me if I was applying for a line. He got me a new phone, a HTC Tanager and a new line in 30-minutes.
When I applied for 2009 retention with Smart Communications applied for retention the phone I signed up for was not in stock and actually never arrived. Eventually, after waiting two or three months, I just accepted a different model and added Php7,000 some cash, since the available model was a higher end unit. The bad part is that my new 24-month contract did not start when my first one ended, but it started after the delivery of my new unit. So instead of being locked in 48 months on two contracts, I was locked in 51 months or so.
2011 was different. Smart had impulse based retention allowing a subscriber to retain up to six months prior to the termination of the current contract. This was called impulse based retention. So I went from my second contract to my third contract without any gap. Now in 2013, it is back to the old system. You can only apply from retention after your contract expires. I am hoping that there is no delay in the delivery of the new unit each time.
In fairness, I had similar problems with my Plan 1000 line with Sun. I applied for retention, but they also were not able to deliver the phone I selected from their catalog. Eventually, I downgraded to Plan 350 contract free. Later on, when my wife available of retention, I also applied for phones. Neither of us got out units, and after two months I decided, we just decided to terminate our lines.
I think impulse base retention was a very subscriber friendly policy. It could even be shortened to one month before your contract expires. Hopefully, Smart Communications will bring back this policy. Right now, I feel like carriers are really just interested in getting new applications and hoping that your affinity for your phone number will keep you from switching.