What's Your Old Cellphone Worth?
Cellphone plans typically last two years. And when you renew, you can buy the latest and greatest smartphone at a huge discount (for example, a $650 iPhone for $200). But your old model may still be worth something — especially if it's from Apple.
Sporting an iPhone 4 and jazzed up for the iPhone 5, which is expected in October? You may be able to upgrade for a pittance if you sell your current phone. The 16GB iPhone 4 fetches up to $167, according to uSell.com, a website that allows people to sell old phones to companies that refurbish and resell them. Even that iPhone 3Gs from two years ago could get you around $100 if it's in good shape. "The iPhone has a very loyal community of followers," said Nik Raman, uSell's co-founder. (The company shared a report on pricing trends exclusively with TechNewsDaily.)
Recently, some Android phones — especially Samsung models — have been fetching high prices, as well. Consumers can unload the hot Galaxy S II (which just saw a replacement announced) for nearly $170. Other top-selling models include Samsung's Galaxy Nexus (up to $207) and Infuse 4G ($123). The HTC Sensation and Motorola Droid 2 both sell for up to $146. [Best Smartphone with Keyboard]
Still, Apple usually elicits the most excitement. "The iPhone has a very loyal community of followers. So it's very easy to see when the new iPhone comes out," said Raman. "After the iPhone 4s and iPad were announced, three times as many people were searching day after," for the trade-in value of their current models, he said. [How Can I Free Up Space On My iPad?]
That doesn't mean Android phones aren't also popular. (In fact, about half of American smartphone owners have some type of Android model, versus about one-third with iPhones, according to a recent study.) But there is no single event for Android introductions as there is for a new iPhone.
"There’s so many Androids out on the market," Raman said. "You might have someone who buys a Samsung this time who buys and HTC next." He said there was no boost in traffic after the CTIA wireless tech convention from May 7 to 10, during which new Android models debuted.
Whenever they sell, people will probably do best with AT&T models, Raman explained. Verizon and Sprint phones work only with those carriers, and only in the U.S. AT&T uses an international standard that allows its phones to work on networks around the world, so those models fetch higher prices from resellers who often sell globally.
No matter what you have, you should unload it quickly, Raman advised. "There is no reason to hold onto it, and prices only go down. They don’t go up," he said. "[Selling the old phone] should be really part of the buying process, like a car."