Telstra tout’s smartphone trade-in program to reduce e-waste

smartphone trade-in
100% human

Telstra wants you to consider its smartphone trade-in program partnering with Kingfisher Mobile to trade in ‘eligible’ and out-of-contract devices.

The only issues with its smartphone trade-in program are the term ‘eligible’ and what prices to expect. Telstra does not publish that information – you must go to the ‘My Telstra’ app to find if you have ‘selected’ Apple, Samsung and Google phones or Apple and Samsung tablets.

Eligible devices are in full working order without scratches, screen or battery issues. They are inspected, repackaged, resold, or recycled rather than ending up as e-waste. The trade-in is a credit against a new phone – not cashback.

It is Telstra’s attempt to keep its clients in the tent. But remember all the Telcos offer incentives to stay with them.

There are lots of smartphone trade-in programs

Samsung, Apple and Google will trade their late-model premium smartphones as a credit against a new one. Sometimes these offer the best prices to lock you into the brand.

Many third-parties offer cash back instead of a credit against a new phone on a plan. They need to make a profit so prices are not generally as high.

Companies include Mobile Monster, Sell Your Mobile, Mazuma Mobile, Mobile Trade, Cashaphone, and many more. Just search for ‘phone trade-in Australia’.

It is a matter of whether you want a lock-in to a Telco, or have the freedom of no lock-in.

Smartphone trade-in only works for premium devices

First, remember that about 85% of phones in Australia are outright purchase and cost below $699. We have listed the best of these here (as at the end of 2020).

These generally end up with Mobile Virtual Network Operators like Boost, Woolworths, Coles or Aldi on low monthly voice/data costs and no lock-in contacts. They depreciate at about 4-5% a month, so after 2-years they are worth little. Neither do they have any trade-in value despite having a few more years life in them.

Telstra et al., have no interest in this market, instead looking for 2-3-year-old Samsung S series, Apple iPhone and Google Pixel 4 or later. For example, an iPhone XS Max in the best condition resells for $800-900 and trade-in is $250-300. A Samsung Galaxy S10+ resells for under $700, and trade-in is about $200-250.

Only premium phones have an adequate profit margin for the refurbisher. Have a look at Green-Gadgets Australia that list hundreds of second-hand smartphones and to get an indicative price. Trade-in value is about 20-30% of that.

We have a great article on refurbs here and an exclusive look inside Alegre’s Aussie refurb facility here.

smartphone trade-in

Best uses for a 2–3-year-old phone

  • Sell it via Gumtree. Listing prices tend to be 25/50/75% of RRP for a three/two/one-year-old device. We caution you that there can be issues and scams to be aware of, but overall, it will give you the best return
  • Give it to your spouse, children and upgrade their technology. A four-year-old smartphone is worth nothing, and the battery will likely be dead.
  • Mobile Muster will recycle older phones for free, and it is very easy to drop a phone in at a participating store. On that note, clean out your draws and get rid of the old Nokias, Razrs and feature phones you forgot you had.
smartphone trade-in