Handset recycling means big bucks

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RecycleA new ABI Research paper just came out citing $3.5 billion to be made from selling refurbished handsets in 2007.

ABI Research industry analyst Shailendra Pandey says, “Recycled and refurbished handsets can help mobile operators in improving per-customer profitability by allowing better management of subscriber acquisition costs. Operators can use these handsets to address low ARPU subscribers and start generating profits on low margin accounts quickly, rather than having to wait to recover subsidies on new handsets.”

When you put it that way, the quick succession of new BlackBerry releases doesn’t sound like such a crazy idea. Busting out the BlackBerry 8310 just results in discounted 8300s that appeal to a lower-spending customer. ABI is forecasting continued growth in the market, hitting $6 billion in refurbished handsets in 2012. On that note, RIM’s got a Trade-Up program available for folks looking to get rid of their old BlackBerry and upgrade.