Bamboo Mobile Issues First Ratings Report for Online Mobile Phone Trade-In Programs

SCOTTSDALE, Arizona, 22 April 2013:  In celebration of Earth Day, a new report from Bamboo Mobile, a division of Compass Intelligence, offers an in-depth evaluation of 12 online mobile phone trade-in programs in the market today.

Mobile phone and device recycling is on the rise. An estimated 21% of mobile users say they have either sold back a mobile device or at least recycled one. Moreover, Bamboo Mobile estimates that the buy back or trade-in market generated about $900 million in 2012 from the sale of used mobile phones and devices such as tablets.  This number is expected to grow to a several billion dollar market over the next few years.

“In the last few years, we have seen the launch of online trade-in programs that can offer customers a viable channel—if properly executed—for those looking to sell back feature phones, smartphones, tablets and other devices,” says Kate Pearce, Strategist and Sr. Consultant at Compass Intelligence.

“Mobile phone users really need to get on the device recycling bandwagon, Earth Day or not, as many of these programs offer attractive incentives for selling back phones,” Pearce adds.

To determine the ratings, Bamboo Mobile examined the requirements, collected secondary information and conducted experience testing for programs from wireless carriers (AT&T, Cricket Communications, Sprint, T-Mobile US Cellular and Verizon Wireless); online retailers (Amazon and Best Buy); device makers (Apple and Samsung); and recommerce vendors (Gazelle and MaxBack).

Highlights from the report:

  • Eight of the twelve online trade-in programs examined are either brand new or were updated in the last three years.
  • Amazon was rated 3 out of 4 (with 4 being the highest rating) due to its smooth process and quick turnaround to receive the incentive, an Amazon gift card.
  • A few of the top carriers all received similar ratings (2.5 out of 4); however, each has different areas for improvement.
  • Of those tested, recommerce vendors and retailers tend to proactively communicate trade-in status via e-mail alerts, while carriers offer a more reactive option for customers to check trade-in status.

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About Bamboo Mobile

Bamboo Mobile,, is an information resource designed to offer news, research and insight around mobile device reuse and recycling. Bamboo Mobile promotes device reuse and recycling as well as other sustainability efforts going on in the mobile industry. Bamboo Mobile explores issues around customer awareness, provides program rankings, and examines creative device recycling (and reuse) efforts and more.

About Compass Intelligence

Compass Intelligence, a global consulting and strategy acceleration firm, specializes in segment and vertical market intelligence for the high-tech and telecom industries; and offers clients a tailored research experience through excellent customer support. Compass Intelligence provides subscriptions and research reports, insight videos, forecasts, competitive analysis, market data and expert recommendations on multiple markets. Visit us at for more information.

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Kate Pearce