How often do you change over your mobile phone?

How often do you change over your mobile phone?

OldPhones.jpg A survey of Australian consumers by retailer Allphones found that 13% of phone buyers plan on replacing their handset every six months, and 40% expect to do so once a year. While the survey size (110) is so small that the figures can’t be taken very seriously (especially in a country where there are more than 20 million handsets), it does raise an interesting issue.

As a tech journalist, I get to test out quite a lot of new phones (though I’m an amateur compared to Nick at Gizmodo) — but I’ve tended to hang onto my actual working phone for two years or more. What’s your preferred phone replacement cycle? And what drives you to change over — a sexy new design, enhanced features, or a dead battery in your old phone? Share your thoughts in the comments.


  • I tend to hold onto my phones for quite a while. The last two I have replaced have been when the previous ones have died, and the current one I can see myself having for quite a while. It’s waterproof which suits my lifestyle, and means it is less likely to succumb to the ravages of use.

  • I have upgraded my mobile every year without fail for the last 8 years. I generally purchase my handset outright, then when I’m bored with it and get the latest and greatest thing I sell it on ebay.

    This time things have worked out slightly differently though, as I now have an iPhone 3G and signed a new 2 year contract with Optus to get it (I was previously with 3 mobile).

    I should think I will be about ready to upgrade again next year, whether to a newer iPhone model or not… I’ll just have to wait and see!

  • I had always followed the 24 month contract schedule until my current handset – I bought a new Windows Mobile phone on ebay since none of the mobile telcos offered them on a non-business plan. I figured that would also allow me to own the phone for as short or long a time as I liked. However it’s just started to die in the last couple of weeks, and I realized that as of next month I will have had it for 24 months.

    So I’ve decided I might as well recommit to a contract and tomorrow I’m signing up for an iPhone for 24 months.

  • once i finally got the phone i was after since i first saw it was coming out (nokia N81) i don’t even look at other phones anymore..

    i don’t need gps, big cameras, or a mobile tv or tv out etc.
    i have a phone that does every thing it needs to, and every thing i want it too and does it at a speed i desire in a device, maybe in a when my contract is up, i’ll look at a new phone, but ’till then its all good.

    before this one tho, i did change phone probably 3 times every 2 years..

    Carriers however, when i was on prepaid i’d change a few times a year, based on what discounts, or available features i could get..

  • I’ve had a few perhaps 3 or 4 different pre-paid phones in a period of 3 years around year 2000.
    Now it tends to be that i stick to a phone with whatever contract i get (24months).

    Being a nerd i have contemplated dropping my phone and picking up an iPhone, but good judgement is still holding out.

  • Hi All,

    I tend to Change my phone when my 24 month contract runs out. Only two occasions I have done otherwise. First one was because I was getting annoyed at the Motorolla C350 interface and lack of PC interfacing abilities. I sold the phone for the cost of leaving the contract I had it for about a year.
    More recently I upgraded from a Nokia 6288 to a E51. This I purchased outright for about half the RRP (first phone I purchased not on a contract). The reason being it is able to use the internet for phone calls it has WiFi access. HSPDA Download speed was just a bonus. I considered a N95 but I got all the features I want with this thin and much cheaper phone. I have a bluetooth GPS Module and loads of Java apps, I can do almost anything on this phone that can be done on a PC. (

    Phone History: LG 330W, Moto C350, Nokia: 3200, 6230, 6288, E51

  • I updated my phone several months ago when my previous phone, which I’d had for at least a couple of years, stopped working.

    I don’t mind all the techy extras but I only really need to take calls, make calls and occasionally swap text messages.

  • In the 14 years I have had a mobile phone I’ve had 5 hand sets altogether and kept most of them for the longest 3 years.
    When I get a phone I tend to get it on a 24 month plan and then by the end of it if I’m not happy with it or something better has come along I will change it over.

    I still have all the hand sets and I’ve handed over to my mother the second phone I bought (Nokia 5110) who uses it on a $5 Telstra plan as an emergency phone when ever she goes out.

  • I tend to do a lot of research before I buy my mobile, so I usually don’t get the need to change the mobile for the next 1.5 years or so, must admit I find it difficult to do the whole 2 years.

    Just bought my N82 after ages of research and web surfing, which actually prompted me to buy the phone outright since no provider had the black one on any plans here in Australia. But now that I have it, unless something very radical happens, I dont see any phone coming out soon with a feature set that can better my new toy :).

    Its the features that drive me rather then the looks, I find that mostly the big companies tend to roll out things with the same feature set with minor changes and a different look every few months, which for me is not worthy of an upgrade (some phones can even be classified as downgrades eventhough they come out after an year or so of the phone that I bought earlier).

  • For me, it’s all about new features… Sometimes I can go for ages before I see a new phone with that killer feature I wanted, other times it comes out 6 months after my last phone and I kick myself!

    I usually sign 2 year contracts though, so it’s always live with the phone for 18 months and then spend the last 6 waiting anxiously and wondering if I can upgrade early (like I did with the iPhone!)

  • Funds allowing, I was changing my phone every two to three years as they came out smaller and more feature rich.

    But now I have my iPhone, I’m hoping to keep it for a lot longer. Really thrash it till it’s dead.

  • I used to do it at the end of every contract…. but that was because most phones I’ve had have died after the 2yr contract.

    Now I buy phones outright…. I havent decided yet, but Probably the same. 2yrs

  • I generally have mine for over 4 years or more. The only time this hasn’t happened is when it failed on me.

    Never a contract, always out-right, which is always cheaper for me. I send sms and make calls. Recently, I take photos on my phone, but I can live without it.

  • I work in construction, so i end up breaking a phone at least ever 6 months. But that would explain my MASSIVE excess.

    I signed my first contract January 2007 and have gone through 5 phones now. But I guess that is the younger generation, cause i still pay the difference for the latest models 🙂

  • I keep them until they die or the contract runs out. That said, my N80 has come out of contract and I think I’m waiting for the N96, its the only one that looks like enough of an improvement to go through the effort of bonding with a new peice of tech – after all I know and love this phone, I don’t know for sure I’ll fell the same about the next!

  • I’ve owned three phones since about 1998 (three of those years were spent in the US where I refused to get a mobile on principle – wasn’t interested in paying to receive calls as well as make them!). Two were pre-paids: the first lasted me about four years before I travelled, the second about two years. I moved to a contract phone just over a year ago and the shift in carrier also required a change to a 3G phone. Incidentally all have been [Sony] Ericssons.

    I look after my stuff and I’ve been lucky that a phone has never died on me. My upgrades are prompted mainly by major shifts in technology rather than the desire for new features on the small scale. I’m considering an iPhone at the moment, but am not completely convinced. As the Gershwins sang: “I’m bidin’ my time…”

  • I keep mine generally 3-4 years. Sign a 24 month contract and if the mobile is still working at the end of it then there is no need to change. I only use mine for calls and text though.

  • So far, I’ve only ever used hand-me-down phones, which saves money and waste. The shortest length of time that I’ve had a phone is about 1 month, because it died. The longest is about 4 years. I’ve been through 4 phones in 8 years.

    For the record, I’m NOT considering an iPhone.

  • I’ve never bought a phone. Hand-me-downs all the way… from a nokia 5110, to a 3110, a short-lived experiment with a cheapo sony-ericson (which fell into the bath while I was talking on it and it survived!), to a motorola flip-phone now. As long as I can easily call, text, and see the time, I don’t need anything fancy. That is, until the convergence arrives, and it’s not proprietary.

  • I tend to hold on to one for as long as it will last.
    Actually due to phones breaking i have moved back to and old phone that belonged to a friend. Acually i have gotten two old phones from friends that were inperfect working order.

    If your not desperate for the newest wizz bang phone it can be easy to get a long well on other peoples handme downs that they don’t want any more.

  • I’ve only had three different handsets in the last 9 years. But then I doubt I’m statistically representative. I mean I don’t even drool when there are posts about iPhones here. =P

  • I’m 18 and got my first phone when I was 12. That was a Nokia 3310, which lasted 2 odd years. I then upgraded to a colour screen in a Nokia N-gage. This phone died within 3 weeks of having it (great christmas present that year, i was devastated when it happened). I then got a Sagem MyC2-v, which lasted 2 years. I then upgraded to a Nokia 5070 which lasted a few months and then died. I then signed my first 2 year contract and got a Nokia N95. This lasted 8 months before IT died so I decided to pay out hte contract and sign up for an iPhone.

    Definitely not had good experiences with Nokia phones.

  • If i were to buy a phone just the phone from someone not a store does anyone know what id have to do to get it registered i have a sim card is it as siple as plug it in and go or what ?

  • also i change my one bout every year and a half but im traveling to australia and i need a phone to take over there so im getting a new one in 8 months insted of 18

  • I always get tempted to change my mobile in less than a year, being a techno nerd. I currently have a Samsung I5503 android phone. It has been woth me for 6 months and I am insistong on reaching the 2 year mark.

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