Last week’s iPhone 6 announcement gave people a lot to talk about – from the Tim Cook and Bono point thing to the guy with the purple scarf…and of course, there’s the new phone. Consumers are anxious to get their hands on the newest device from Apple, and our ecoATM kiosks have seen a substantial increase in activity in the last week.

Our data experts pulled the numbers to put together a heat map highlighting regions we’ve seen the highest increase in activity at our kiosks – looking at price checks and buybacks of previous generation iPhones. We know the lines are already forming at retailers across the country, and we are anxious to hear sales figures from Apple after the highly awaited phones hit the shelves tomorrow.

What feature on the iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus are you most looking forward to? Tell us in the comments below!




With the actual sale launch (meaning the date it hits the shelves) of the iPhone® 6 this week, I thought it was important to discuss recycling your phones and maximizing the green. Not just the environment green to save our landfills from including precious metals but also your wallet! My buddies and Green Living Guy sponsor at ecoATM® has got over 1,100 nationwide automated electronics…

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By Kate Pearce

(This post was originally published on Bamboo Mobile)


The new iPhone 6 models, which will be shipping on September 19th, could generate as many as 12 million sales, globally, the first weekend it launches. For the US market, this could be as many as six million in sales that weekend. Yes, September is turning out to be a big month for the wireless industry, but let’s not overlook the recommerce and eco-focused guys like ecoATM and Gazelle who hope to recapture used iPhones/smartphones and keep them out of landfills (and desk drawers) as customers are rapidly upgrading. The new iPhone hoopla could also generate new additions via early upgrade programs, which were launched by the national carriers last summer. Here we take a closer look at these early upgrade/installment programs in preparation for the new iPhones hitting the market soon.


The wireless industry has changed quite a bit since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007. The upgrade cycle has shifted as more customers want newer, fancier smartphones more often. A survey we conducted in June found that about 48% of respondents said they upgrade to a new phone every 24 months or less; 26% said they upgrade every 18 months or less. With new devices entering the market and consumers eager to purchase them, carriers have moved away from the practice of requiring a customer to sign a two year-contract (and subsidizing the phone). After all, subsidies were first implemented to help the wireless industry take off. Mission accomplished. Now, we have the carriers (boldly led by T-Mobile) rolling out no contract pricing plans and early upgrade/device installment programs which has dramatically changed the industry.

Early upgrade programs 

When first launched last summer, early upgrade or device leasing programs (also known as installment plans) were scrutinized by some industry pundits who said they were not a good value and too complicated for the consumer to understand. Analysts at The Verge said carriers were trying to capitalize on the customers’ constant desire for new gadgetry; even going as far as saying that subsidies costs were built in to the installment plan pricing model even though the customer was paying for the phone themselves. Moreover, they asserted that the longer the customer would pay on the installment plan, the more profitable it was for the carrier. Not to mention that the consumer is now missing out on getting the most value for their used smartphone since they are required to trade them in with these programs. Here is an excerpt from the article:

“If you want to get really mad, just keep the math going to 24 months, at which point you’ll have paid $650 in Edge payments for the phone and Verizon will have collected $480 of device subsidies built into your plan. Compare that to Verizon’s standard two year contract, which would have cost you just $199 up-front and then nothing additional monthly: the built-in plan subsidy would have paid off the phone in the background, and you would simply walk away with the phone in hand. It is the clearest proof that Edge is designed to keep Verizon’s prices high while making you pay for phones more directly.”

Since then, the carriers have updated and tweaked these programs based on this earlier feedback, including better pricing plans associated with the programs. Sprint even launched an iPhone for Life leasing program, allowing customers to pay $20 a month for 24 months on their iPhones for two years, in which they can turn in the device for a new iPhone. The following table provides an overview of the other traditional early upgrade programs:

Source: Compass Intelligence, 2014

Most of these programs require a credit check if you are a new customer and carriers like Verizon initially rolled out their Edge program only to their highest credit class customers. And, as mentioned, all of the programs require the customer to trade-in the original smartphone purchased when signing up. The device must be at least in working condition and, for some carriers like T-Mobile, must pass a three-point inspection.

Customer feedback

Since these early upgrade plans have been in the market for one year now, we have posed some questions to our survey panel over the last few months about them. Here are some insights:

Earlier in the year, 53% of our survey respondents told us they are NOT interested in early upgrade programs because they keep their phones as long as they can. In our most recent survey, that number decreased to 44%, implying that more people are showing interest in these programs.

However, when we asked about the requirement to turn their old phones back in if they are on a program; less people were inclined to want to do so than at the first of this year. 

Source: Compass Intelligence, 2014

In our latest survey, about 25% of mobile users told us that they upgrade their phones, in general, because their old device was not working. Interesting since most of the early upgrade programs require the device to be in working condition. And, if it is not, the customer is responsible for repairing the device unless they sign up for the insurance program (and they still need to pay the deductible). At least with T-Mobile’s Jump program the insurance plan is included.

Conversely, what if you just bought a brand new Samsung Galaxy S5 on an early upgrade plan but now really want to try the iPhone 6? On the Verizon Edge Up plan, the customer can upgrade after 30 days if the device is 60% paid off. This is interesting from a recommerce perspective since the carriers may end up collecting smartphones in pristine condition with high resale value. And, in many cases, will not be offering any additional incentive to the customer for their gently-used device. This looks like another plus for the carrier, yet not so much the consumer.


So are the carriers signing up customers on these plans? In Q2 2014, AT&T reported that it has signed up seven million Next customers; AT&T is bullish on this program and sees additional growth via Next. Unlike some in the industry who predicted that customers would leave after the initial installment plan was up, AT&T is seeing more customers stay due to the impact of Next. Verizon did not report specific numbers but said it had an 18% take rate on Edge in the quarter, which is considerably lower than AT&T.

Apple will start shipping the new devices soon and the carriers have already started to tweak their early upgrade and trade-in programs with promotions and additional marketing in this area. They really want customers to embrace and adopt these plans to increase their gross additions and improve profit margins. As a way to combat these plans, it might be helpful for the standalone recommerce players to adopt some sales strategies that expose some of these shortcomings and to focus on those mobile users who are not tied to an early upgrade program and who find less value in doing so. 

About the Author

Kate Pearce is a Senior Strategist and Consultant at Compass Intelligence where she manages consulting projects, conducts market research and develops content for Reuse and Recycling, Green Wireless, Mobility/Devices, and other Compass Intelligence markets. She is also involved in other specialized business and client development activities for the company.

Pearce is also the Editor-in-Chief of Bamboo Mobile (, an information hub designed as a resource for news and insight about mobile device reuse and recycling. Bamboo Mobile promotes device reuse and recycling as well as other sustainability efforts going on in the mobile industry. She has been quoted in major news and technology publications, including CBS News, New York Times, CNET, St. Louis Post Dispatch and Business Week.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia and currently resides in Kansas City area.  You can contact Kate at

For more information, please visit our Reuse and Recycling research track on the Compass Intelligence website.

By Alison Clancy

Editors Note: To celebrate the release of the iPhone 6, we updated previous content to provide you with the most relevant information.


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Your private information is extremely important, and you should make sure that it’s safe and secure with you before your device is recycled or sold. There are many different phones out there and many different ways to erase your information, but here are directions for a few of the most popular models out there:

1) iPhone 4 up to the iPhone 5S 

  • Make sure to back up all of your information to your hard drive, iCloud or iTunes, or a service such as Dropbox.
  • Before you begin, it’s a good idea to connect your phone to a charger during the process so the phone won’t die in the middle of the erase.
  • Click the Settings App, then General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings.
  • Depending on your device, this can take a few minutes or longer, so make sure you won’t need your phone during this time period.

2) Samsung Galaxy S4

  • Again, make sure everything is backed up and that your phone is connected to a charger if possible.
  • Tap Menu > Settings > Accounts > Backup and reset.
  • You can choose Automatic Restore or Back Up My Data if desired
  • Tap Factory Data Reset > Reset Device.
  • Enter your PIN or password if the screen is locked.
  • Tap Delete All.

Also important to note: Remove any memory or SIM cards from the device before selling it to guarantee that your photos and videos remain in your care. Please note that if you forget, ecoATM will responsibly recycle these components as well, along with cases, cables and other miscellaneous chargers you’d like to give us.

Have other questions about erasing information? Talk to our Customer Service team, and they’ll be happy to help. Click here for more information on Apple devices, and here for more on the Samsung Galaxy S4.

Time to Celebrate: We’ve Recycled 3 Million Devices

That’s right! ecoATM has just recycled it’s 3 millionth device. Why is that such a big deal? Check out the infographic above to find out (click the image for a bigger version) or visit our website to read more.

5 Things I’m Looking Forward to at CTIA: Super Mobility Week

By Randal Erman

Every year, there are a few trade shows where techies come together to be taken aback, blown away and utterly floored by the latest and greatest gadgets and innovations. CTIA’s Super Mobility Week is one of those elite trade shows that never disappoints, and this year, I’m going to be there with the ecoATM team. I’m excited to network and show off our kiosk at Booth #5749, but there are also a few other things I’m looking forward to:

1. My first stop at CTIA will be visiting Cobra Electronics and finding out more about their Cobra JumPack. This nifty little device fits in your pocket and jumpstarts your car - USEFUL! If you ever find yourself stranded with a dead battery, the $129.95 that this little device costs will look like peanuts.

2. Next on my list is the AT&T booth to look at the next generation Audi A3 that will include 4G LTE. Consider the possibilities for this 2015 automobile:

  • Real-time map updates
  • Endless radio stations
  • In-car mobile communication 

3. After I get my automobile fix in place, I can begin to focus on my house needs. Specifically, all the home automation technology that is going to be on display at CTIA this year. After last year when Nest was acquired by Google for two gazillion-billion dollars, I expect everyone and their mother to have some form of sleek tool to make my home more responsive to me. Piper is one of those companies and I recommend looking into them. 

4. I am really looking forward to checking out the Scoshe Rhythm, a pulse and heart rate monitor that will allow me to really see how hard I work on the soccer field.

5. Smartwatches will also likely be on of the stars of the show – from Samsung Gear, LG, Moto and more.

The only other place I know I want to see is ecoATM technology live in action - don’t forget to come visit Booth #5749!

For more on our trip to CTIA in Las Vegas, visit

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By Alison Clancy

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Just about a year ago, Apple released its newest operating system, iOS 7, on September 18, 2013. To put it simply, our beloved green machines turned red (well, not really, but that would be kind of cool). The kiosks were suddenly having trouble analyzing iOS 7 devices, and this same frustrated reaction was felt across the recycling and buyback industries.

The confusion was short-lived; with the help of our engineering team, and a little assistance from you, these challenges can be avoided. If the device you’d like to recycle is running iOS 7, follow these simple steps BEFORE you visit to get the best experience at ecoATM:

  • Turn off the Find My iPhone feature while connected to a wireless network.
  • Once you’re at the kiosk, you will be offered a cord to plug into your device. This should trigger a screen to display on your phone that will ask you to “Trust This Computer.” That computer is ecoATM, so go ahead and select “Trust.”

That’s it! Happy customers, happy machines. Don’t forget to check back here once iOS 8 is announced to prepare yourself on best practices for recycling devices running that software.

For more on iOS 7, visit

The top 10 finalists have been announced for the ecoATM Caption This contest! It’s up to you to decide who wins $5,000. Vote now:

ecoATM Debunks the Latest iPhone 6 Rumors 

As we look to the trends this year, we all know the iPhone 6 has an active following. Some of the iPhone 6 rumors going around seem plausible, but some seem downright outrageous.  Will it be lighter, thinner, bigger or a Phablet?

Take a look at our fun iPhone 6 Rumors video starring some of our favorite ecoATM team members and let us know what you’ve been hearing about the new phone. 

Don’t forget to sell back your old iPhones, iPads and other devices no matter the condition at an ecoATM near you!

The iPhone 6 is Coming – Why You Should Trade-In Your Old Phones Now

By Alison Clancy

Step 1: Grab a sharpie. Color is completely up to you, though we’re partial to green.

Step 2: Stand in front of your motivational cat calendar. You know you have at least one.  

Step 3: Draw a big circle around September 9. Let the countdown begin!

Apple event invites were sent out early Thursday morning to select media, displaying the September 9 date and saying only this: “Wish we could say more.”

Hopefully Apple will be saying a lot more when it comes to the iPhone 6, along with iOS 8 and a rumored wearable device allegedly called the iWatch.

As most of you know, brand spankin’ new Apple smartphones don’t come cheap, and the best time to recycle your old phones for cash would be before the latest and greatest device is announced. ecoATM determines pricing based on:

  • Model
  • Condition
  • Current market price

When a new phone hits the market, the market price goes down for all other devices. We hope you’ll be a part of what we lovingly refer to as our “Green Team,” our community of recyclers who love getting green for being green. Resell and recycle at ecoATM now to add some money to your iPhone 6 fund!

Current Prices at ecoATM:

  • Up to $260 for iPhone 5S
  • Up to $300 for iPad Air
  • Up to $140 for iPhone 5C
  • Up to $160 for iPhone 5
  • Up to $90 for iPhone 4S
  • Even Up to $200 for broken iPhones!

Find Your Local Kiosk

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