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SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Pat Romanski, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan, Roger Strukhoff

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As Wireless Carriers Race to Reclaim Phones, Sprint Phone Trade-in Program Remains No. 1

For the third straight year, Sprint [NYSE:S] has been recognized as having the best phone buyback program among all major U.S. carriers by Compass Intelligence, a market analytics and consulting firm, who released its latest report today, "Buyback and Trade-in Program Market Assessment." The report provides a comprehensive assessment of mobile device trade-in programs and assessed carriers based on program capabilities and customers’ experience.

A Sprint customer takes advantage of the buyback program in a Sprint retail store in Chicago, IL. La ...

A Sprint customer takes advantage of the buyback program in a Sprint retail store in Chicago, IL. Last year alone, Sprint put more than $100 million back in customers' pockets through their trade-in program. (Photo: Business Wire)

The convenience of Sprint’s Buyback program, significant presence in-store and online, as well as its commitment to reclaiming devices earning such accolades as breaking a Guinness World Record, led to the recognition. Sprint continues to highlight the environmental benefits of phone recycling and to raise awareness around the financial benefits of its phone trade-in program, for which customers can receive up to a $300 account credit. To date, Sprint Buyback and the company’s other wireless device recycling programs have collected more than 50 million devices.

“Sprint earns the highest ranking among all major U.S. carriers for its mobile phone buyback program due to its creative use of partnerships, promotions and customer messaging,” said Kate Pearce, strategist and senior consultant at Compass Intelligence. “The carrier continues to demonstrate leadership in this area and is committed to an eco-focused approach in the way it does business.”

“We’re honored to be recognized for these efforts,” said Darren Beck, director of Sprint’s environmental initiatives. “Sprint is committed to providing customers with convenient and rewarding options for recycling their mobile devices. Our buyback program can help customers offset some of the cost of their next device and helps Sprint avoid substantial operating costs by reusing most of the devices we collect. It also helps our communities; reducing electronics in landfills and reducing the resources, energy and emissions required to produce even more new devices.”

Compass Intelligence predicts that by the end of 2014, there will be roughly 396 million idle or inactive mobile devices in the U.S. Of those, only about 80 million will be recycled. As wireless devices continue to penetrate the market, carriers are looking to reclaim those devices to extend their value.

Sprint was among the first wireless carriers to establish a phone buyback program in 2001, and has since been the longtime leader in cellphone reclamation – ensuring financial and bottom-line benefits to customers and its business. Today, more than four out of every 10 customers in Sprint retail stores participate in the buyback program. These recycling programs put back more than $100 million in customers’ pockets last year alone and to date, have helped create more than $1 billion in cost avoidance for the company.

Offering certified pre-owned phones to customers at a fraction of the price benefits customers and is a successful business model for Sprint. Today nine of every 10 devices that come back through the Sprint Buyback program get reused, not just recycled. The last 10 percent of phones that are “recycled” are separated into parts that can be recycled as raw materials for a surprising number of goods, from jewelry to battery packs to car parts.

As part of its industry-leading Electronics Stewardship Policy, which highlights Sprint’s efforts to work with only third-party certified recyclers to achieve their aggressive recycling goals, Sprint aims to collect an average of nine devices for every 10 devices sold by 2017. With Sprint’s new Framily plan, customers who choose the upgrade option will help Sprint achieve this goal as customers give back their device should they choose to upgrade every 12 months.

Sprint continues to receive recognition for its leadership in environmental practices. Sprint was recently honored as the most “eco-focused” wireless carrier by Compass Intelligence and has been widely recognized for its environmental commitments to decrease energy use, enable more eco-friendly mobile solutions, and offer industry-leading wireless recycling programs.

Last year, Sprint was the only telecommunications services company named to CDP’s S&P 500 Climate Performance Leadership Index (CPLI), which highlights companies that demonstrate strategies committed to improving their impact on the environment. Sprint was also named for the third consecutive year to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America, which tracks the corporate sustainability performance of the top 20 percent of the 600 largest companies by industry in the United States and Canada.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint (NYSE: S) offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint served more than 55 million customers at the end of 2013 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint as the most improved company in customer satisfaction, across all 47 industries, during the last five years. Sprint has been named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) North America in 2011, 2012 and 2013. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

About Compass Intelligence

Compass Intelligence, a market analytics and consulting firm, specializes in strategy acceleration and insights for the high-tech and telecom industries while providing clients tailored services through excellent customer support. Compass Intelligence provides executive insights, market sizing/modeling, competitive analysis, strategic consulting, and expert recommendations on multiple markets. Visit us at http://www.compassintelligence.com. Follow Compass Intelligence on Twitter at @CompassIntel.

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