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Compass Intelligence Estimates There Are 280 Million Idle Mobile Devices in Need of Recycling in the US


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., March 27, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- According to new research from strategy acceleration firm Compass Intelligence, there are nearly 280 million idle or deactivated mobile phones in the United States – in need of recycling. With resources becoming scarce, creating a sustainable way to recycle and reuse mobile devices in this country and others is a growing priority for many mobile operators. The new research from Compass Intelligence leverages both primary and secondary research, and shows that mobile customers are interested in recycling their devices (particularly when they sell them back to the provider) – but in most cases are just unaware of their sell-back/recycling options.

"In many cases, we have discovered that end users have several deactivated mobile phones on hand but they are unaware they could be sold back or recycled," says Kate Pearce, Research Strategist and Sr. Consultant at Compass Intelligence.

The research also indicates that on average, 25% of customers upgrade every 18 months or less. Therefore, as customers swap out devices for the newest models, gently-used devices could re-enter the market at a faster pace creating more options for price-sensitive consumers and, more importantly, relief from steep subsidies for mobile operators.

"Recycling and re-using mobile devices is not really about the environment – it's about improving the economic fundamentals of the Mobile Operator business model," says Kneko Burney, Founder & CEO of Compass Intelligence. Burney adds, "This is a maturing market, with rapidly changing fundamentals, namely carrier network costs (for data usage) are sky-rocketing while ARPU is only rising moderately. As such, finding ways to take core costs out of the business, such as by lowering the needed subsidy, will help to ensure long term profitability."

Last year, Compass Intelligence ranked the buyback programs of the four major wireless providers and scored Sprint with the highest rating.

Other Highlights from the Reports:

About Compass Intelligence
Compass Intelligence, a strategy acceleration firm, specializes in providing decision-support from idea to execution, including customer analytics for the high-tech and telecom industries. Our team of experts deliver insights through a variety of resources, from syndicated reports, market forecasts, expert videos to information portals such as SBOnline and (an M2M community). Find us on or follow us on Twitter (  

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Kneko Burney
President & Chief Strategist

Kate Pearce Research
Strategist and Sr. Consultant  

SOURCE Compass Intelligence

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