Technology has helped make mobile phones become an essential part of human life. However, the average mobile device consumer will not use the same device indefinitely. Each device that is simply discarded and thrown in the bin is a missed opportunity.

This is why:  At the point at which that device becomes undesired by the owner for whatever reason, it shifts into something else. Think of used mobile devices as tools that can be used to generate positive outcomes on multiple fronts if we can make the most out of their lifecycle.

Trade-in and upgrade programmes are solutions that can maximise the mobile device lifecycle. When combined with asset value recovery, these solutions will yield benefits for consumers, businesses and the environment.


Not knowing what to do with their used mobile devices is a problem faced by 26% of global consumers. For the remaining 74%, how they ultimately handle their used mobile devices can vary quite a bit.

Some consumers, particularly those of the older generations (Baby Boomers and the Silent Generation), opt to keep the phone as a backup in case their new phone malfunctions, is misplaced or stolen; however, this option usually means that the phone is placed in a drawer and forgotten. Other consumers prefer to give away their used device or sell it online for extra cash, actions that can result in privacy issues as resetting a phone does not guarantee the complete erasure of all personal data. Those who opt to sell their device online, an action favoured by mainly younger generations (Millennials and Gen Z), are also placing their privacy at risk.

And there is also the set of consumers who decide to trade in their used mobile device for a newer one.
The plan for trading in used mobile devices is something mobile networks, manufacturers, large retailers, and telecoms companies can encourage by extending compelling trade-in and upgrade offers to encourage them to trade in their used devices.

Consumers should know that they can use trade-in programmes to convert a used device into cash or account credit based on an appraisal that reflects a fair estimate of the device’s condition and value. They should also be aware that upgrade programmes allow eligible consumers to trade in their current phone for a newer model.

Understanding the multiple ways these two programmes are beneficial to different parties can encourage consumers to participate:

  • Data Privacy. Assurant ensures that any device that comes through its door is wiped of all personal data in accordance with industry standards. All devices will be certified ADISA (Asset Disposal and Information Security Alliance), which ensures that products used to sanitised data, work effectively and correctly.
  • Environmentally Friendly. Consumers who trade in their phones are also helping to protect the environment by using trade-in programmes that take advantage of the fact that used mobile phones still have plenty of use in them. Instead of being thrown in a landfill where the batteries and other parts of the phone can harm the environment, the devices are put to good use by being recycled or used other customers. 
  • Helps People Around the World. Used mobile phones that are processed through trade-in and upgrade programmes can be given second and third lives by being put to further use by other people around the world. The secondary device market is growing to meet the increasing need of people who seek more affordable mobile devices to connect with their families, work, education and friends. 


Those with trade-in and upgrade programmes should also consider the programmes to be avenues to additional streams of revenue. The revenue earned through the programmes would be a boost for all mobile networks, manufacturers, large retailers, and telecoms companies. And capitalising on the programmes to generate the most possible revenue is conceivable, particularly if they take heed of the factors that are most important to consumers.

For instance, when deciding whether to sell their phones, 58% of global consumers say that their decision hinges on price. Through our trade-in and upgrade programs, Assurant has put $11B back into the hands of consumers       .

For another 25% of global consumers, trustworthiness is the most important factor. This is beneficial to mobile networks, manufacturers, large retailers, and telecoms companies who consumers may be more liable to trust than lesser-known or less-established online retailers or consumer-to-consumer sales sites.

Asset value recovery is another aspect of trade-ins and upgrade programmes that enterprises should not overlook. At Assurant, we leverage a global distribution network that spans 15 countries to ensure the timely disposition of the devices at the highest conceivable price. 


Trade-in and upgrade programmes can also optimise sustainability. The devices that are filtered through the programmes are recycled or given to another customer who is seeking connectivity and will get plenty of use out of the used device. 

Since 2009, Assurant’s collective sustainability efforts have resulted in:

  • 20,412 metric tons of e-waste redirected from landfills
  • 100 million repurposed mobile devices
  • Improved connectivity of tens of millions of people
  • Offset CO2 emissions for 5.5 million metric tons

Furthermore, Assurant ensures that any phone that cannot be resold is responsibly recycled. In 2020, Assurant diverted 1.5 million devices to recycling which allows precious metals to be recovered and reduces the need to mine for more of these finite resources.
It is possible to make the most out of the mobile device lifecycle. Trade-in and upgrade programmes are a win, win, win for all parties involved—consumers, mobile networks, manufacturers, large retailers and telecoms companies —and they can help protect the environment. Get in touch with us at Assurant to learn how we can help you win today.