Our Love Affair with Broken Mobiles

Australians just can't let go

It’s always difficult to say goodbye to something that once meant a lot to us, but when that something is broken and no longer working, shouldn’t letting go be easy?

When it comes to mobile phones, apparently not. According to new IPSOS research commissioned by MobileMuster Australia’s love affair with old mobiles remains a challenge. As a nation, we’re holding onto five million unusable mobiles, a figure that has increased by almost a million in the last year [1]. And that’s just the broken ones, there is over 23 million old mobiles lying around in Australian homes that could otherwise be recycled [2].

This World Environment Day (June 5), MobileMuster is calling on Aussies to make a positive move and recycle those old, broken and unwanted mobiles. The research found that while over three quarters (77%) of Australians are aware of mobile recycling, just under a third (31%) have ever recycled an old mobile [3].

“It’s time to let go,” says Spyro Kalos, MobileMuster’s Recycling Manager. “If your mobile is broken and can’t be turned on, then it’s essentially just a piece of junk.”

“While the phone may be worthless to you now, it’s not to the environment,” he continues, “by recycling your old mobile, you’ll be sending much needed materials back into the supply chain to make new products. And this reduces the need to pull materials of out the ground. Recycling mobile phones is a positive environmental step that we can all take.”

98 per cent of the materials found in mobile phones can be recovered. This includes precious metals, plastics and non-renewable resources. Recycling 50,000 handsets can remove the need to mine over 330 tonnes of precious metal ore.

The research also found that millennials are the least likely to recycle their old mobiles, and are most likely to resell them [4]. “If your phone is still working, we encourage you to reuse it by either selling it or passing it on to friends or family, and by doing so you’ll be extending the life of it – which is a good thing. But if it’s at the end of its life, recycle it, what are you waiting for?” says Kalos.

For more information to our consumer research, click here

[1] [2] [3] [4] IPSOS, (2017), Consumer insights into mobile phone use and recycling, Sydney, p. 1-73.

5 June 2017


AMTA welcomes deployment regulation amendments

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) welcomes the announcement today from the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, regarding the progression of 10 reforms to the regulations governing the deployment of wireless and mobile networks in Australia; as well as further consultation on 11 other proposed reforms. In welcoming the announcement, AMTA Chief Executive, Chris Althaus noted the Government’s reform package will go some way towards enabling the deployment of the next generation 5G mobile networks which are expected to bring significant improvements in speed, quality and capacity for Australia’s data hungry consumers.  But he also noted there was still more to do. “This is a welcome and very important first step - in what we hope will be an ongoing engagement with government and stakeholders to develop a dynamic regulatory framework to meet the deployment challenges of next generation networks.


Final NTP results cannot confirm mobile phone cause cancer in humans

The long awaited final results of the decade-spanning US National Toxicology Program on radiofrequency energy exposure has found no consistent effects in male and female mice and rats exposed to mobile phone signals for their whole life (2 years). However, in a sub-section of the study, researchers found that at the highest doses for the longest periods of time, cellphone radiation might cause a rare cancer in male rats. “High exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in rodents resulted in tumours in tissues surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats, but not female rats or any mice, according to draft studies from the National Toxicology Program (NTP),” said a press release from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences where the program is headquartered.

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AMTA Annual Report 2017

In 2017, the strong demand for mobile services continues to have an impact on our economy and society as the industry shifts its focus in preparation for 5G, the next generation of mobile technology. AMTA’s latest Annual Report includes the following highlights: As industry prepares for 5G the need for regulatory reform in spectrum management and network infrastructure deployment is increasingly urgent. 5G Mobile – Enabling Businesses and Economic Growth Report by Deloitte Access Economics found that 5G is expected to further drive Australia’s digital economy. It will add to the already significant (and growing) $34 billion in long-term productivity benefits from mobile; and annual network spend from mobile providers is expected to reach $5.7 billion in FY2017-18. The MCF has focused on an agenda of legislative reform to support the efficient and flexible deployment of network infrastructure.


How will 5G improve network performance

While the technical standards for 5G are still being developed, experts agree that 5G will offer: Latency of less than 1ms; Ability to deliver speeds of up to 10 Gbps and beyond; Energy efficiency in running 1000s of devices; and Improved network capacity by enabling millions of low bandwidth devices to connect simultaneously. Where 4G focussed on providing improved speed and capacity for individual mobile phone users, 5G will enable more industrial applications, and could be a major technological driver in industrial digitalisation. For more information about 5G read our latest report from Deloitte Access Economics. Download the complete report.