Vodafone have announced they are to sell ‘officially refurbished’ smartphones. Available to all they come with a warrantee at a discounted price. Handset availability will depend on which devices other customers have previously returned.
However, the announcement suggests their focus is firmly on reducing device costs for pre-pay customers:
It makes it more affordable for customers to get their hands on a smartphone, helping to increase take-up of the mobile internet among the mass-market (rather than being aimed at early adopters or people who already have a smartphone). We’re particularly targeting pay as you go users who have yet to make the leap to a smartphone.
Interestingly it also offers some numbers for smartphone adoption:
smartphone take-up among new pay monthly customers is over 90%
I’d previously seen figures of around 75% for the whole of the UK (and globally it’s much lower – around 40%) so this suggests operators will need to be increasingly creative for those who can’t subsidise their hardware with a contract.