Do We Keep Our Smartphones for 2 Years Because We Have To?


A poll running on asked people how long they keep their smartphone before purchasing a new one. Nearly 47% of the respondents selected “2 years” as their answer.

Should we be surprised by this? I mean, after all the most typical cellular provider contract is a 2-year contract and naturally we all feel like our smartphone is yesterday’s news after our contract is up.

Well, not all of us. 19% of respondents said they keep their phone for 3 years; 11% for 4 years; and 13% for 5 or more years. The remaining 10% are ready to buy again after 1 year.

SEE ALSO: How long do you keep your smartphone? [POLL]

This got me to thinking. What if the average term of a cellular provider’s contract was only 1 year? Would we then purchase a new phone every year? Or what if contracts didn’t exist at all? Then what?

How a Contract Really Works

One thing to keep in mind is that the reason contracts exist is because your cellular provider is really leasing your smartphone to you. You know that iPhone you own? It costs way more than $199. It’s more in the range of $600 – $800 depending on the model. The difference is just divided up into 24 “installments” and added to your bill every month.

That’s why there’s such a steep fee to break your contract. You in a sense have to pay up on what you owe on the phone. Worse yet, some cellular providers don’t drop the installments off your bill when your phone is paid off. You just continue paying for it for as long as you keep the phone.

Does This Change Your Mind?

Does this change your mind about how long you keep your smartphone? Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.


  1. i want a new one after a year but I usually wait a little longer because the one i want is a biggish budget item for me and i don’t want to do installments. i also have a no-contract phone

  2. If one chooses their phone like the big investment item it is, then one would make sure that it has the features one needs plus the capacity to do whatever one does with their phone, e.g.videos,gaming.messaging,data usage,etc. I can’t understand why people buy expensive items with no attention to what they paying for as if money is tissue paper. I work hard for my money so I try to spend it as wisely as I can. Having a contract that includes the spaces out the upfront cost of the phone is no problem to me. What I feel is the problem that people who complain about contracts versus no contract plans is that everyone wants a free up-to-date phone. I first started using a cell phone with a no contract setup which meant that I had to pay for the phone upfront. If one is on limited funds budget choices in phone are extremely limited and not top of the line either. My son works for one of the cell phone carrier store as a combo sales and tech person (he sells the phones and repairs them too). He tells me stories of how people come in to get new phones but don’t want to pay much either in upfront costs or monthly fees. The best is after they finally pick a phone (based more on the outside look than performance) they will try to return phone after using it for 30 days because they want to get another phone but don’t want to pay a restocking fee, in other words use the phone for free. You get what you pay for. One needs to buy a phone they can afford and treat it carefully

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