Market for Refurbished Devices Will Take Off

Originally posted on Wireless on December 17, 2012, by Perry LaForge, Chairman, Device Renewal Forum

Here’s a prediction that you can bet the farm on: In 2013, more than 400 million smartphones will wind up in the trash or stuffed in the back of a desk drawer. That’s a sure thing because since the dawn of smartphones, less than 1 percent have been recycled in any given year.

2013 will be the year that the industry finally breaks that habit – not just for smartphones, but for feature phones, USB modems and other wireless devices, too. One reason is that renewed devices give operators and distributors additional options for targeting price-sensitive demographics such as the credit-challenged and prepaid users. Refurbished smartphones, tablets and modems are ideal for increasing Internet penetration in developing markets.

The biggest reason is because in 2013, the Device Renewal Forum (DRF) will begin implementing a global framework that makes it convenient and cost-effective for operators, OEMs, distributors and other ecosystem members to deliver renewed devices that appear and perform like brand-new models. The DRF will free operators and vendors from the cost of having to develop and maintain their own refurbishment programs.

The DRF certification mark will give consumers and enterprise buyers the peace of mind that a device has been thoroughly inspected and updated, from its battery to its operating system. These quality controls also enable operators to protect their brands while they pursue the new market opportunities that refurbishment enables. It’s a future where everyone benefits, and it begins in 2013.