Wooden blocks showing a turn from 4 to 5 G.

An industry insider wrote that 4G devices will retain their value in the near future, allowing carriers to offload devices into secondary markets. | Dmitry Demidovich / Shutterstock

A mobile expert at Assurant says technology developments to boost cellular connectivity will help drive turnover of devices.

“This upcoming upgrade supercycle will not only enable operators to drive revenues through the sale of new devices, it will allow them to take advantage of the ever-growing secondary device market,” Biju Nair, executive vice president and president of Global Trade-in and Upgrades at Assurant, wrote in a recent piece published by The Fast Mode.

Nair was CEO of mobile phone reverse logistics firm HYLA Mobile before the company was acquired by Assurant, an insurance and extended warranty provider, for $325 million in December 2020.

In his write-up, Nair said trade-ins driven by consumers looking to get 5G-compatible phones began last year and will accelerate this year. That will increase the supply of used devices for secondary markets. Assurant sells hundreds of millions of dollars worth of used phones around the world each year.

“Extending the lifecycle of pre-owned devices and re-selling these devices help operators, OEMs and retailers maintain their commitment to sustainable, responsible practice and continues to drive a lucrative circular economy,” he wrote.

In a recently published e-book, the president of Assurant’s global lifestyle business unit, Keith Demmings, wrote that the company is developing a proprietary software that carriers will use at the point-of-sale to determine how much a consumer’s old phone is worth as a credit toward a new phone.

The aim is to enable a large enough credit to allow the carrier to win the consumer’s business but still have the credit be low enough that the phone can be resold at a margin that makes the trade-in financially viable for the carrier, he wrote.

The e-book predicts that 4G-compatible phones will retain their secondary market value in the immediate future.

“Because the market adoption of 5G will happen gradually, 4G devices will retain their value in the near future, allowing carriers to offload devices into secondary markets,” according to the publication.

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