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New Life for Discarded Cell Phones

A new development in cell phone technology is the recycling of old phones. National charities are collecting discarded cell phones as a fund-raising effort and then selling them to a US company that renovates them. Voice of America reporter Cole Mallard spoke with the vice president of ReCellular, Mike Newman, who said currently ReCellular is doing business in Kenya and Nigeria, because the conditions are right in those two countries, “Different phones from different networks will only work in certain locations, so you have to have the right frequency and the right type of phone to work in [a given] market.”

Newman said ReCellular plans to expand because the desire for cell phones in Africa is extremely high and the cost of the recycled phones is less than half that of new ones, sometimes even less.

Newman said getting more cell phones to Africa is limited only by the number of phones that can be obtained for recycling. He says used phones may not look new, but they “will be able to perform all the necessary functions, like placing a call, text messaging and all those things you come to rely on.” Newman gives two websites: one is for those interested in donating phones: The other is for those interested in getting a phone: