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Americans Sell Their Cell Phones For Cash: How We Compare To Other National Averages

By Expert Author: Joanna Daniels

How often do people change their smart phones? On average, Americans do not store their old mobile phones inside shoe boxes or sell their cell phones for cash until they're almost two years old, or 21.7 months. They normally replace their mobile phones once they're ready to upgrade models at the end of their 2-year plans.

Other surveyed countries with high turnover rates include the United Kingdom with 22.4 months, South Korea with 26.9 months, France with 30.8 months, and Canada with 33 months. On the other end of the rankings, Indians hold onto their cell phones for an average of 93.6 months. This is equivalent to almost 7.8 years.

Brazilians switch cell phones every 80.8 months. Other low average scores were garnered by Israel with 76.5 months, Finland with 74.5 months, and Italy at 51.5 months. According to this study, which was conducted by Recon Analytics, neither the purchasing power parity (PPP) income nor the percentage of prepaid subscribers directly affected trends in handset replacement.

On average, South Africa has, in US dollars, a PPP of $10,498, which is a slightly lower than Brazil's $11,239, but South Africans get new cell phones every 38.2 months. Trends predict that the rate of handset replacement for South Africa is only going to be quicker as more data plans become available to subscribers.

While South Koreans and Indians have the most and least percentages of prepaid subscribers, at 96 and 0 percent respectively, the Japanese—with only 1 percent of its cellphone users on prepaid—switch to newer cell phone models every 46.3 months, which is close to four years. On the other hand, 86 percent of Mexicans are prepaid subscribers, but it only takes them 39.6 months, or barely three years, to have their cell phones replaced.

Regardless of nationality, there will always be people who will switch cell phones much more quickly than their national average for different reasons. Affluence and the ability to replace their cell phones is, of course, one of the reasons. These people sell their cell phones for cash so that they can shell out less money for an upgrade or new handset. For information on how to donate or recycle electronic gadgets, see: epa.gov/osw/conserve/materials/ecycling/donate.htm.

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