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Research shows people keeping phones for longer

Sam Loveridge

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iPhone 5S
iPhone 5S

New research shows people are keeping their mobile phones for longer and the upgrade cycle is extending.

The time it takes for people to upgrade their mobiles is getting longer, which could mean a huge problem for the mobile industry.

If people are taking longer to upgrade it could cause issues for the mobile industry that measures growth by the consumer upgrade cycle.

According to Recon Analytics, the US smartphone upgrade cycle reached 22 months in 2012.

The research carried out by Business Insider suggests that declining innovation in the smartphone hardware has caused customers to hold onto their existing handsets for longer periods.

It could also be down to the consolidation of mobile software and manufacturing which means key players in the mobile industry share hardware and launch dates, which increase consumer confusion.

Tech giants have also been focusing strongly on software features more recently, rather than hardware innards.

Plus, users tend to be tied in to 24-month contracts with smartphones, which limit the upgrade possibilities unless you’re prepared to pay premium prices for SIM-free devices.

Smartphone manufacturers want as short an upgrade cycle as possible as they want as many consumers to own their new devices as possible and to improve the adoption of the latest operating systems.

This latter point is particularly important to Google as it has always had issues encouraging users to update their operating systems.

The longer upgrade cycle will also have an effect on network operators as they rely on new phones to run on the 4G wireless networks, which encourage more internet data consumption and in turn boost revenues.

App developers could also suffer, as software is designed around the latest OS to take advantage of new technology.

However, they are not so affected by longer upgrade cycles with Apple as the majority of devices are compatible with new OS versions.

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pikachu

November 27, 2013, 9:30 pm

Innovate or die. Simple.

Prem Desai

November 28, 2013, 7:25 am

Hardly surprisingly.

The network operators and phone manufacturers have been shooting themselves in both feet for a while and the effects are being felt now.

Phone contracts are longer and the phones themselves are hardly being subsidised.

Phones themselves are now silly money. Yes, they get more functionality but lets be honest - do they need to cost so much. Look at the Moto G as an example - what can it not do that a 500+ phone can do?

So, as the article does mention, people are now keeping their phones longer.

Only the very desperate or very silly would come out of their contract by paying premium prices.

TheHulksMothersCousin

November 28, 2013, 2:16 pm

As it has been said the mobile industry is its own worst enemy with networks pushing 24 month contracts when the manufacturers are bringing new products out every 6 months or so. That and the cost of some contracts and sim free phones are absolutely insane. I'm planning to buy the 16 MB Moto G outright because when I checked contracts they were absolutely crazy costs compared to the costs and benefits combined of buying the phone outright and a relatively cheap sim on a 30 day contract.

toboev

November 28, 2013, 6:21 pm

Samsung certainly shot themselves in the foot. I have the original Note, skipped the Note 2 since it was a backwards step in screen resolution and not much else, and will pass on the Note 3 if they persist with their region-locking stunt. They really must think customers are dim if they think we believe them when they say region-locking is all for our benefit.

Knuckles Mutatis

March 3, 2015, 1:36 pm

I know I used to care about upgrading; now I don't care to be on that merry-go-round of consumption anymore - I just keep the phone till it breaks.

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