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The Cell Phones FAQ

I've been given a used cell phone, how can I have it activated? Is it worth it?
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Let's face it: cell phones are almost disposable goods and, in North-America, a used cell phone is virtually useless, for several reasons. First, cell phones age very quickly due to the way we treat them, carrying them around everywhere. Second, the battery tends to have a limited lifespan, for instance "3 years or 1000 charges" and third, cell phone features evolve so quickly that, a year or two later, a high-end cell phone isn't high-end anymore.

In addition to that, the cell phone that one wants to give to you must quite likely be reactivated on the network on which it was formerly used, for instance Verizon Wireless or Sprint PCS - except in rare cases, cell phones are blocked so that they can only be used on a specific cell phone. Ironically enough, the cell phone company will probably ask you to pay a "reactivation fee".

So if you add up the cost of eventually replacing the battery (easily up to 40 dollars), the obligation to stick with the same network and not to choose your own service plan according to your need, the annoyance of using an old cell phone rather than a new one and the activation fees, receiving a used cell phone as a gift is not a bargain. You may be better off buying a low cost phone with a two to three year contract because, doing so, you will approach cell phone companies as a "new user" and these companies offer excellent incentives to recruit new users that may outweight any "savings" done by reusing a used cell phone.

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