Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - FRONT PAGE - TEXT BY NIDHI SIN­GAL

Blame it on peer pres­sure or call it flam­boy­ance, but the truth is that over 100 mil­lion users in In­dia give in to the temp­ta­tion of buy­ing a new smart mo­bile hand­set ev­ery year. If you are not afraid of burn­ing a hole in your pocket ev­ery time a new smart phone hits the mar­ket, chances are ei­ther you own more than five hand­sets or you sell your old phone to fund the new pur­chase.

The bit­ter ques­tion, how­ever, isn’t how much you are willing to sell your phone for, but how much the shop­keeper is willing to pay you for your old de­vice? The dy­nam­ics change—it is a buy­ers’ mar­ket.

If you are new to hawk­ing your old hand­sets, be pre­pared to be shocked. The re­sale mar­ket is all grim for the cus­tomers. We un­cover the harsh truths of the un­der­stated sec­ond-hand phone mar­ket and share a few tips on how to know your phone’s worth.

Ca­pac­i­tive touch­screens, An­droid operating sys­tem, ap­pli­ca­tions, good cam­eras—th­ese are in great de­mand in the re­sale space. Honey Singh, a small dealer in used phones at the bustling Gaf­far Mar­ket in New Delhi, re­veals: “The QW­ERTY key­pad is not in de­mand any­more. Those buy­ing sec­ond­hand phones ask for touch phones. An­droid-based phones are very pop­u­lar and we re­ceive a lot of queries for them as well.”

But what if you want to sell that In­dian mo­bile brand you are tired of us­ing? Says Mo­hit Wad­hwa, owner, Mobi Phone Net­work Pvt Ltd, Delhi: “The re­sale value of brands like Lava and Kar­bonn is not very high in big cities. Th­ese phones are com­par­a­tively cheaper and have a shorter life­cy­cle. But they still have a huge de­mand in the sub­urbs and smaller towns and vil­lages.”

Our ex­pe­ri­ence proved their words. We tried sell­ing some old Mi­cro­max and Lemon phones with QW­ERTY key­pad and Wi-Fi. While most of the shop­keep­ers re­fused at the men­tion of the brands, some asked, “Is it the Mi­cro­max Bling 2? Is your Lemon phone An­droid based?” Phone sell­ers at Gaf­far Mar­ket, one of In­dia’s largest re­sale mar­kets for mo­bile phones, were mostly cir­cum­spect about th­ese phones. “We don’t deal in such small or Chi­nese brands. If you have a Nokia or a Samsung, show us,” said one.

In the end, we man­aged to find some­one who eval­u­ated the cost of th­ese phones at 800 apiece. (The ac­tual re­tail price of the two hand­sets was around 5,000 each). Be­cause the phones looked brand new and worked per­fectly, we were able to raise the price to 1,000 per de­vice.

But be warned, if phones have scratches on them or the orig­i­nal pack­ag­ing and ac­ces­sories are miss­ing, they are just more de­bris on the e-waste heap. The land­scape of the ever thriv­ing used mo­bile hand­set mar­ket has changed dras­ti­cally. Re­mem­ber when sell­ing an old phone was sim­ple? A pop­u­lar Nokia model used to fetch roughly 60 per cent of its mar­ket price while the ‘lesser brands’ resold at 40 per cent fo the orig­i­nal tag.

This doesn’t work any longer as now in­stead of brands, it is the operating sys­tem and the ac­tual model that rule the re­sale mar­ket. Among all the pop­u­lar plat­forms, it is An­droid and iOS that are in great de­mand in the sec­ond-hand mar­ket. But again, this is re­stricted to cer­tain phones only. For in­stance, the Samsung Galaxy SII and Galaxy Note have good re­sale value. Adn then one can hap­pily ne­go­ti­ate over an old Ap­ple iPhone 4S or iPhone 4. But try sell­ing your HTC In­cred­i­ble S, Evo 3D or Sony Eric­s­son Arc S or even the Xpe­ria Arc and the amount of­fered will be way less than what you had planned for.

Nokia has taken a se­vere beat­ing in this the re­sale mart. From be­ing the in-de­mand brand, it is now the least favoured among buy­ers. A Nokia phone run­ning on a Sym­bian plat­form will only get you 30 per cent of the cur­rent mar­ket price. In case of a dis­con­tin­ued phone, this is 30 per cent of the last sell­ing price be­fore the model was dis­con­tin­ued. The value eval­u­ated for the Nokia E7 (with­out any scratches on the body and screen) which ex­ited the mar­ket at 19,500 was only be­tween 7,000 and

` `

9,000. The Nokia N8, a slightly pop­u­lar

` phone, can be sold for 8,000.


The sit­u­a­tion isn’t any dif­fer­ent for the newly launched Win­dows Phone from Nokia or other brands. In this case, expect 50 per cent of the cur­rent price, even if the phone is just 10 days or a month old. The cost is fur­ther re­duced if the body has scratches.

Re­search In Mo­tion’s Black­Berry is not pop­u­lar ei­ther. While there isn’t much that you can expect, only the Black­Berry 8520 can still fetch you be­tween 3,000 and


3,500, that too if you have the orig­i­nal

` bill and the box. This is de­cent con­sid­er­ing the new Black­Berry Bold 9900 re­tails at 32,000 and its re­sale value is a mere

` 12,000.

` Man­ish, owner of Ma­hesh Tele­com in Mum­bai, says, “Those who are buy­ing sec­ond hand cell phones seem to be look­ing for more fea­tures at a lesser price. Even they ask for the best sell­ing mod­els such as Samsung Galaxy SII or Ap­ple iPhone 4/4S.”

By now you must have got a fair idea that get­ting a good price for your old phone is not a piece of cake. You will have to work a lit­tle hard to crack a good deal.

If you have re­alised that you are bet­ter off sell­ing your old phones ly­ing in your cup­board be­fore they get dis­con­tin­ued, here are a few tips. (See box)

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