27
April
2011
|
01:37 PM
America/Los_Angeles

New Smartphone Envy - Two-Thirds Say Stuck With Old Phones

The power of the new: Retrevo, the consumer electronics buyers guide, conducted a survey that finds 62% of smartphone owners believe they are stuck with obsolete devices because of their two-year contracts

Andrew Eisner, Director of Community and Content at Retrevo reports:

Manufacturers are flooding the market with new phones at a very fast rate. Retrevo counted more than 120 new smartphones from major vendors over the course of about a year. The problem is that most carriers require you to hold onto a phone for two years before you can upgrade which has created a condition where new phones appear much faster than consumers are allowed to buy them.

- The Retrevo study found that almost two thirds of U.S. smartphone owners perceived their phone to be obsolete now or will be obsolete before their contract runs out.

- When the Retrevo study asked smartphone owners whether they would consider changing smartphones before their contract was up, 48% said they would if the terms were favorable while only 20% said a two year contract on their device was fine with them. Others were not sure or might buy an unlocked phone.

What About a One Year Contract?

When we asked smartphone owners if they would be willing to pay extra for a shorter contract we found most buyers would not however some owners would pay extra and $100 seems like the most popular price point.

How About Today's Early Upgrade Programs?

We wondered if any of the carriers make it easy to upgrade a phone before the contract is up and found little definitive information and lots of comments like, "you can sometimes negotiate with representatives."

- Verizon recently scrapped their New Every Two program and currently does not offer any early upgrades before 20 months.

- AT&T offers a discount after 20 months but that is practically 2 years.

- Sprint has the most attractive arrangement. Any Sprint customer paying more than $89.99 for a contract can get a fully discounted new phone after one year along with a contract extension.

We feel this is a model other carriers should adopt and could help give consumers more peace of mind when purchasing a product in such a fast paced market. Unfortunately for consumers it appears there is virtually no practical way for most phone owners to replace their phone before the contract is up.

About This Retrevo Gadgetology Study

Data for this report came from a study that was conducted online recently with over 500 Retrevo users responding, distributed across gender, age, and location in the United States.