Typical service life of cell phones? [telecom]

I was curious what is the typical service life of cell phones*. Would anyone know?

When my cell phone died, it was six years old. I didn't think that was very old, but the phone company said that was ancient. Also, they used to give free basic models free in exchange for a two year contract commitment, they were hesitant to do that. Smart phones seem rather expensive, especially with a data plan.

Thanks. [public replies, please]

  • Not counting accidently physically broken, stolen, or lost units. Are those major reasons for replacement, or do people just want a more modern phone?
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+--------------- | I was curious what is the typical service life of cell phones*. | Would anyone know? | | When my cell phone died, it was six years old. I didn't think | that was very old, but the phone company said that was ancient. ... | * Not counting accidently physically broken, stolen, or lost units. +---------------

I don't know what's "typical", but I'm still using a Samsung "Captivate" that I bought from AT&T in 2010. But then, I'm often considered to be a bit of a technotroglodyte. ;-} ["If it ain't broke..."]

+--------------- | Are those major reasons for replacement, or do people | just want a more modern phone? +---------------

Often the latter, for sure.

I confess that lately even I have been thinking about maybe replacing that Captivate with, oh, maybe a Nexus 5X [a Googlephone made by LG], since I'm a bit grumpf'd by the fact that my Captivate is still stuck on Android 2.1, with no way to update it -- Samsung+AT&T only ever made one update available. On the other hand, Google only promises Android updates for 18 months after a device is first available for sale, which might leave me stuck without further updates in as little as a year from now. [But at least I'd have a newer phone... ;-} ]


+--------------------------------------------------------------+ Rob Warnock 627 26th Avenue San Mateo, CA 94403
Reply to
Rob Warnock

I guess the industry has got people expecting a new phone every 2-3 years or so. Since the majority of cell phones are smartphones now, I could go based on that.

For Apple, the latest iOS (which is semi-important to be on, as other security issues crop up for older non-supported versions, and you'll soon find you can't run software from the App store unless you are semi-current somewhere on iOS 9.x) supporting the oldest phone, the iPhone4S released in October 2011. Even then, this amazed some people who expected it to roll off the supported lists by now.

Android is a bit more difficult, but we can go by seen usage (ie. the Wikipedia article on Android). Which goes from about 20% of users are on Jelly Bean, first released July 2012, 34% on KitKat for Oct

2013, 37% on Lolipop (Nov 2014), and a very few on the latest.

So, generally 5 years looks to be the trailing edge, but users are trained to get itchy fingers after 2-3 years to look for a new one.

Reply to
Doug McIntyre

That's pretty old. On copper landlines the signalling never changes so a 1930s phone will work today, give or take pulse dialing, but cell phones signalling seems to change every three years or so. Your phone is probably TDMA (AT&T) or CDMA (VZ or Sprint) both of which are being phased out in favor of LTE.

If you want a dumb cheap phone, get a prepaid Tracfone either on their web site or at stores like Staples or Best Buy. Non-contract prepaid plans start at $20 for 90 days. I bought a used Moto X for about $100 online and use it on Tracfone with a larger but still fairly cheap prepaid bundle.

R's, John

***** Moderator's Note *****

LTE (Long-Term Evolution , commonly marketed as 4G LTE) is a standard for wireless communication of high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals. It is based on the GSM/EDGE and UMTS/HSPA network technologies, increasing the capacity and speed using a different radio interface together with core network improvements.[1][2] The standard is developed by the 3GPP (3rd Generation Partnership Project) and is specified in its Release 8 document series, with minor enhancements described in Release 9.

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Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
John Levine

HAncock4 wrote in news:0ce160a9-2e9c- snipped-for-privacy@googlegroups.com:

I've had three flip phones donated from friends over the years. Only one actually wore out after about 6 years. The other two were coopted by my employers and required handing them in for new flip phones that were on different providers/bands. My first cell phone was a donated candy bar phone. It had to be retired when they phased out analog service.

I've paid $30-$45 (total) per month for service. My wife has had Android and Apple phones. She switches to get better price or cell service as needed. I think she pays $120 per month and the things haven't worn out, but the longest she has kept one is perhaps three years.


Reply to
David LaRue

I had a pair of Nokia 6102 flip phones that were in daily use by my wife and I for nine years. They were finally retired in favor of iPhone

3GSes; mine was still working perfectly well but my wife's had started to display intermittent problems. I didn't set out to conduct a longevity experiment, but had simply lost track of how long we'd had them. When I went to an AT&T store to get the new iPhones, the clerk that assisted me was shocked when he pulled up my account info and discovered how long we'd had the Nokias.

Since then I'm on my third iPhone (a 6s). I kept both the 3GS and its successor, a 5, for three years, and in each case the biggest factors driving an upgrade were my desire for a faster CPU and a larger screen. The iPhones' main weakness as far as longevity seems to be the batteries

- the ability of my 3GS to hold a charge had noticeably weakened by the time I upgraded to a 5. The 5 had its battery replaced at no charge by Apple under a recall program when it was two years old, the main reason I opted to keep using it for another year instead of upgrading when the

6 came out.

***** Moderator's Note *****

I was thinking that TD readers could use a place to send their old, but still usable cell phones, and then I remembered that I had seen a donation box for them at a store. Please send in nominees for the most worthwhile cell phone donation sites and your reasons for favoring them.

I nominate myself: in a bizarre adjunct to the cats-with-buttered-toast corrollary to Murphy's Law, every cell phone I've ever dropped has landed in the only puddle to be seen within a mile.

Bill Horne Moderator

Reply to
Dave Garrett

On Sat, 12 Mar 2016 00:35:45 -0600, Moderator followed what Dave Garrett wrote with this afterthought:

I once had great luck selling a non-functional iPhone back to NextWorth -- . Many Staples or OfficeMax/OfficeDepot stores maintain cell phone recycling bins in-store, as do (on-campus) many colleges and universities. Many agencies for distressed vets, battered women, the homeless, the aged (Wounded Warrior Project, USO, AARP, etc.) accept phones as well. But I shan't rank them by worthiness :-) .

HTH. Cheers, -- tlvp

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