Smartphone swaps with US ops rising - Mobile World Live

Smartphone swaps with US ops rising

05 FEB 2019

US operators aren’t doing enough to promote device trade-in programmes, leaving aside a key tool in the battle against falling mobile upgrade rates, argued Biju Nair, CEO of used device specialist Hyla Mobile (pictured).

In a report on 2018 trade-in trends, Hyla Mobile found US consumers received $2.26 billion from device trade-in programmes in 2018, up from $2.16 billion in 2017.

As users look to offset rising device costs, Nair said in a press release operators, OEMs and retailers should do more to encourage such deals “as a part of the normal device purchase process”.

“More than ever before, trade-in programmes are an important tool to help stimulate upgrades and enable new smartphones to be more affordable for consumers,” he said, adding such schemes “have proven to be the best antidote for a slowing device sales cycle.”

The comments came after Verizon posted a record-low Q4 upgrade rate of 6.3 per cent in 2018 compared with 7.2 per cent in Q4 2017. Upgrade rates at AT&T and Sprint similarly fell in the typically strong holiday quarter, the former to 4.9 per cent from 7 per cent and Sprint sliding to 7.7 per cent from 9.2 per cent.

Device vendor Apple was also stung by low upgrade rates.

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Hyla Mobile noted the iPhone 6 was the most-traded device in 2018 for the third year in a row, accounting for 30.52 per cent of all deals. Various iterations of the iPhone, including the 6S, 7, 7 Plus and 6S Plus, rounded out the year’s top five.

However, Apple customers appear to be holding on to their devices longer than other smartphone users, with the models exchanged typically being 2.87-years old compared with 2.56-years for non-iOS smartphones.

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Diana Goovaerts

Diana joins Mobile World Live as its new US Editor, reporting on infrastructure and spectrum rollouts, regulatory issues, and other carrier news from the US market. Diana comes to GSMA from her former role as Editor of Wireless Week and...

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