Bandung Electronics Center , BEC for short, is the place to go if you're looking for a handphone or anything related to these communication lifelines. It is also a perfect place to see to what extent Indonesians have become accustomed if not obsessed with these gadgets. Over 4 floors of new and second hand phones are offered, ringtones and wallpapers, chargers and prepaid cards, you name it, BEC has it.
If you're looking for a handphone, generally Nokia is the most reliable brand, with the longest lifetime. New Nokia's start at around Rp.550,000. The cheapest option if you want a basic phone without any fancy gadgets, is probably a Motorola that only sets you back Rp.399,000. There are several indigenous or Chinese brands, that are generally less reliable and don't have any network coverage overseas, for example Sanex.
Second hand options are numerous, every stand offers a selection of handphones in various states of shabbiness, prices are highly negotiable, so make sure to survey several stalls before buying. Of course buying a second hand phone brings with it certain risks, so check if all buttons work, if it charges correctly and if there's a guarantee if problems do occur. Typically second hand phones will start at around Rp.200,000 and go up to over Rp.1,000,000 for the latest models with internet, camera, full colour screen and so on.
The newest rage are CDMA phones, and there are several providers that offer cheap rates for both calling and smsing. The most reliable ones being Flexi, Fren and Esia. CDMA phones use a different network and often can function as a modem which allows internet access.
On the third and fourth floor computer stores take over and this is one of the best places to buy a laptop. Again, there's a wide selection of both second hand and new laptops. A new, modern laptop can be aquired for around Rp.7,000,000 and second hand ones start at approximately Rp.4,000,000. It is advisable to check the charger, since they often decrease in power after several years, and buying a new one is an expensive affair.
On the top floor there's a small foodcourt, and believe me, a visit to BEC will turn out to be an exhausting experience. The sounds, the swarming activity and the dazzling array of stalls that offer basically the same thing over and over again, make a pit stop at the food court a necessity.