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The Benefits of Using Refurbished Cellphones Become Clear

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Paul Korzeniowski's picture
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Usually, the latest smartphones boast additional gigabytes of memory, higher definition cameras, more network bandwidth, faster processing, and a few other amenities. Do remote technicians and employees require the newest features? Probably not but often energy companies upgrade them anyway. Interesting in refurbished phones is growing because they offer a more cost effective, environmentally friendly alternative. 

Smartphone suppliers are in an endless battle to differentiate their devices in order to generate revenue. Consequently, updates and new models are produced at a rapid pace, in some cases coming is less than every 12 months.

Corporations then replace their old devices even though in many cases, they work fine. With worldwide smartphone sales passing the 1.5 billion mark annually, a large number of usable devices are cast aside.

New Option for Old Phones

A new channel has emerged to address that issue. A growing number of devices are being refurbished: sent to a facility for reconditioning and eventually sold on secondary channels. 

This market is large and growing. Worldwide shipments of used smartphones reached 282.6 million units in 2022, an 11.5% increase over the 253.4 million units shipped in 2021 according to International Data Corporation (IDC). The growth is expected to continue: used smartphone shipments will reach 413.3 million units in 2026, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.3%.

A Refurbished Phone or a New One?

So, why should energy companies examine these devices? Lower price is an obvious reason. These smartphones cost 15% to 70% -- or more -- less than current models, depending on factors, like a device’s age and condition.

Partner support is growing. In the US, more than 60,00 licensed and registered electronic and computer repair businesses employ about 150,00 employees whose focus is to find new homes for old technology. The industry generates $19 billion annually

Large players are supporting this channel. Apple created its Certified Refurbished branding, while Samsung calls it a “Certified Re-Newed” program. Carriers, like AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile, have begun offering the option.

Finally, this approach is environmentally friendly. The phone stays in use and does not end up in a landfill. Also, manufacturing a new smartphone produces anywhere from 150 to 180 pounds of carbon emissions, while renewing one produces 24 pounds of CO2e, according to Apple.

Increasingly, mobile devices have become part of employees’ toolkit. Smartphones are upgraded and often discarded at a rapid pace. By switching to refurbished phones, utilities lower their costs, take advantage of a new service channel, and help the environment.

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