Who will buy your used cell phones?

By: Emilie Sennebogen

The older the phones, the less likely you'll find a buyer.

Living in a modern age comes with a lot of perks, one of the most impressive being the Internet is always at your fingertips with the advent of the smartphone. As of July 2011, 40 percent of mobile phone users had smartphones, and by the end of 2011, smartphones are expected to enter the majority [source: Nielson]. The problem is that all cell phones, including smartphones, qualify as hazardous waste. That means when you upgrade to a smartphone, you have some decisions to make in regard to your old cell phone. Some people simply throw it into the trash, which has helped to create a staggering amount of e-waste, the fastest growing segment of the waste stream. The good news is that you have some options when it comes time to upgrade to a smartphone, or when a newer version of your smartphone is released that you just can't live without.

The aftermarket for cell phones is a vibrant segment of the industry. Just a quick search on reselling smartphones on the Web yields dozens of companies that specialize in buying and selling used phones. Depending on the model of your smartphone and the shape that it's in, you can get a pretty good return on your investment. For instance, there are many Web sites that offer as much as $150 back for some models of the popular iPhone that are in good condition. For customers that bought these phones at discounted rates by signing up as new customers or taking advantage of an upgrade price, it means you're making back most of the money you invested in your phone to begin with. You can also take matters into your own hands and sell your phone through a listing on sites like eBay or Craigslist. This way, you can negotiate your own price directly with the end user.


The bad news is that there isn't a tremendous market for selling ordinary, used mobile phones. The advent of the smartphone has made them somewhat of a dinosaur as far as resale is concerned. However, there are plenty of great ways you can get rid of that phone that do not include throwing it into the trash. Programs like the nonprofit group Cell Phones for Soldiers are a great way to rid yourself of e-waste. In this program, you can donate your used cell phone, which is then sold to a cell phone recycling company. That money is used to buy prepaid calling cards for American soldiers overseas. Since its inception, more than half a million calling cards have been distributed, and phones are pouring in at a rate of more than 100 million per year [source: cellphonesforsoldiers.com]. There are other nonprofits that use similar models to distribute donations or used cell phones to seniors and special needs children as well.

ElectronicsCell PhonesHow Cell Phones WorkElectronicsCell PhonesCan cell phones make you sterile?ElectronicsCell PhonesCell Phone PicturesElectronicsCell PhonesHow Cell Phone Jammers WorkElectronicsCell PhonesWhich cell phone should I buy for my grandmother?ElectronicsCell PhonesInside a Cell PhoneElectronicsTravel GadgetsIntroduction to Global Cell PhonesElectronicsCell PhonesHow are cell phones cloned?ElectronicsCell PhonesHow Prepaid Cell Phones WorkElectronicsCell PhonesCan you charge your cell phone with a fuel cell?ElectronicsCell PhonesTop 5 Future Cell PhonesElectronicsCell PhonesHow do I use my cell phone as a modem?ElectronicsCell PhonesIntroduction to How Video Conferencing Cell Phones WorkElectronicsCell Phones5 Ways to Donate Your Old Smartphone or Cell Phone to CharityElectronicsCell PhonesCell Phone Tower PicturesElectronicsCell PhonesHow Much Radiation Does Your Cell Phone Emit?ElectronicsHow-to TechHow to Unlock a Cell Phone or SmartphoneElectronicsCell PhonesCan extreme weather damage your cell phone?ElectronicsTravel GadgetsHow Wind-up Cell Phone Chargers WorkElectronicsCell PhonesHow to Tether a Cell PhoneElectronicsCell PhonesHow did digital technology change cell phone service?ElectronicsCell PhonesHow to Unlock an Android Cell PhoneElectronicsCell PhonesScientists Have Invented a Battery-free Cell PhoneElectronicsCell PhonesHow to Decide Between a Smart Phone and Cell PhoneElectronicsTelephone TechnologyHow to Forward Calls from a Landline to a Cell PhoneElectronicsCell PhonesHow to Import Pictures from a Cell Phone to a LaptopElectronicsTech's Effects on the Family5 Ways to Keep Your Kids Off Their Cell PhonesElectronicsTech for KidsCell Phones for Kids: When is the right time?ElectronicsCell PhonesWould a cell phone work on a submerged submarine?ElectronicsCell PhonesHow to Transfer Data from One Cell Phone to AnotherElectronicsCell PhonesCan you use a cell phone as a credit card?ElectronicsCell PhonesWhy is a cell phone called a cell phone?ElectronicsCell PhonesElectromagnetic InterferenceElectronicsCell PhonesWhat does GSM mean in a cell phone?ElectronicsCell PhonesHow does a vibrating cell phone or pager work?ElectronicsCell PhonesHow GPS Phones WorkElectronicsHow-to TechHow to Unlock GSM PhonesElectronicsCell PhonesHow Smartphones WorkElectronicsCell PhonesCell-phone CodesElectronicsCell PhonesCell-phone Frequencies - Cell phone FrequenciesElectronicsCell Phone AppsHow to Fake a GPS Location on Your PhoneElectronicsWirelessHow 5G WorksElectronicsTelephone TechnologyWhy does the phone still work when the electricity goes out?ElectronicsCell PhonesHow Cell-phone Radiation WorksElectronicsCell PhonesHow Cell-phone Viruses WorkElectronicsCell PhonesHow Cell-phone Implants WorkElectronicsHigh-Tech Gadgets5 Tips for Picking the Right SmartphoneElectronicsCell PhonesCell-phone Network Technologies: 3G - 3G Cell phonesElectronicsCell PhonesInside a Digital Cell PhoneElectronicsWirelessHow 4G WorksElectronicsCell PhonesDo Smartphones Really Charge Faster in Airplane Mode?ElectronicsCell Phones4 Reasons Your Phone Keeps Dropping CallsElectronicsCell PhonesPotential Health Risks - How Cell-phone Radiation WorksElectronicsCell PhonesSmartphone Hardware and Software - How Smartphones WorkElectronicsCell PhonesCell-phone Channels - Cell phone ChannelsElectronicsCell PhonesSource of Radiation - How Cell-phone Radiation WorksElectronicsCell PhonesCell Phone Jamming DeviceElectronicsCell PhonesAnalog Cell PhonesElectronicsFuture TechWhat Will Replace the Smartphone?ElectronicsWirelessHow WiFi Phones WorkElectronicsTelephone TechnologyDo smartphone covers really protect phones from damage?ElectronicsCell PhonesCell Phone Jamming Legal IssuesElectronicsCell PhonesCell Phone Network Technologies: 2G - 2G Cell phone NetworksElectronicsCell PhonesCell Phone Jamming BasicsElectronicsCell PhonesGSM and CDMA - How Cell Phones WorkElectronicsCell PhonesCould someone stalk you using your own smartphone?ElectronicsCell Phones6 Creative Uses for an Old SmartphoneElectronicsTravel GadgetsIntroduction to Global Cell Phones

Lots More Information

Related Articles

  • "About the Program." Cellphonesforsoldiers.com. October 22, 2011. http://www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com/about.html
  • Bennett, Terri. "Do Your Part: Top 5 solutions to e-waste." Miamiherald.com, October 14, 2011. http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/24/2469327/do-your-part-top-5-solutions-to.html
  • Brownlow, Mark. "Smartphone statistics and market share." Email-marketing-reports.com. October 22, 2011. http://www.email-marketing-reports.com/wireless-mobile/smartphone-statistics.htm#smartphones
  • "Facts About Cell Phones." Wirefly.org. October 22, 2011. http://www.wirefly.org/news/cell-phone-facts.php
  • Mooallem, Jon. "The Afterlife of Cell Phones." Nytimes.com, January 13, 2008. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/13/magazine/13Cellphone-t.html?pagewanted=all
  • "What is Your Cell Phone Worth?" Securetradein.com. October 22, 2011. http://www.securetradein.com/vendors/TRA000/index.aspx