Guest post: How long could you make your mobile last?

For many people in the UK, the lifespan of a mobile phone is considered to be less than 2 years, thanks to frequent upgrades for Pay Monthly customers. There are many ways to ensure that your old phone’s put to good use once you’re done with it, like O2 Recycle. But Helen Craig O2 customer, sustainability professional and EcoLocal trustee wonders, ‘Wouldn’t it be better if we all tried to hang on to our phones for just one more year?’ Here’s her guest blog post…


I got my iPhone with O2 at the end of October 2008 and was very excited to get my hands on it! I used it on a pay monthly contract for two years before I switched to pay as you go, whilst travelling abroad. I carefully looked after it with a case and screen protector for the first few years of its life, until I actually broke the case itself – for some strange reason I then decided that I no longer needed a case and everything would be fine.  Looking back, this was possibly an error.

I continued on pay as you go, even when I returned to the UK, as I still had a phone that did everything I needed it to and I had a great deal. My competitive nature also played a part and I decided I would try to see how long I could make it last, before getting a new phone.

Smart phones aren’t for everyone and there are plenty of those who just want the call and text functions. However for me, being able to play my music, take photos, text, send emails, look at maps, explore the internet, check the weather and make phone calls with just one device, is perfect for working on the move.

Unfortunately as time went on and I got a little lazy about not dropping it and after a few late nights out, my phone started looking a bit worse for wear. Although smart phones have the ability to upgrade themselves internally with various software changes, my poor little phone started to struggle with these and would occasionally just black out. But with the battery still going strong, I battled on, not wanting to give up on my challenge.

As the months went by, my phone started physically failing and various parts of the case started falling off as large cracks appeared – it was therefore no surprise that using the map function started becoming a little hit and miss.

Currently my phone is still soldiering on, nearly four years after it came out of the box so shiny and new. I would like to try and keep it for longer but I fear that the end is nigh – the blackout episodes are becoming more frequent and although I can use most of the applications, I can’t listen to music and check my Facebook page at the same time – for some reason, it doesn’t like that and will turn itself off in a strop if I try. I wonder how well it would be functioning, had I kept it in a case and not stood on it, dropped it or thrown it so many times!

If everyone who was offered an upgrade turned it down for just one more year, or even kept their phones until they stopped working, just imagine how much waste would be saved? My phone is pretty old but I am sure it’s not the oldest. If yours was ‘born’ before October 2008, then get in touch with O2 and tell them your story…