Over 50% of Hungarians Store Old Phones Despite Safety Risks


Image by Konektus Photo /

More than half of Hungarians are still storing unused mobile phones in their homes, according to a representative national survey by Yettel, even though aging batteries can be dangerous for the environment and even cause fires.

Yettel's recent survey shows that half of Hungarians use a mobile phone for 3-4 years, while a fifth use it for more than 4 years. More than half of the respondents have already had a phone that someone else has used before, and more than a third have already passed on a phone within their family.

The most common reason why people change their mobile phone is that the previous one becomes unusable (55%). Many people also change their mobile phone when it is still working but is worn out (39%). About 38% of respondents are willing to change their mobile phone for a new feature - 33% of women and 43% of men - and for men the reason, a relatively popular reason for changing their mobile phone may be the introduction of a new model (11%).

A third of respondents also indicated that they would replace their current phone more often if they could - but a previous survey showed that, given the difficult economic situation, a third of Hungarians would prefer to try to postpone the replacement.

The Fate of Unused Phones

More than half (55%) of respondents still store their unused handsets at home - although this is an improvement on last year's result (63%), it remains the most common fate of unused phones. Of those who choose to store, 47% keep one device, 32% two, and 21% three or more. By contrast, last year half of respondents (46%) who stored old mobile phones had three or more of them at home, and they could be more than 10-15 years old in some cases.

The results of the survey show that most people opt to give away or donate their old mobile phone (40%), while 23% of respondents opt to sell it. Those who pass on their phone are most likely to give it to a child (45%) or a parent (46%), while a fifth give it to a grandparent or other older relative. Interestingly, while 65% of respondents are afraid of their data being misused, yet 16% do not delete their personal data before giving their old mobile phone to someone else. Among young adults, the proportion of those who do not delete their data is even higher, approaching 25%.

The Fear of Giving Away Old, Still Valuable Devices

Fortunately, fewer and fewer mobile devices are now going in the bin, but still, nearly one in ten people throw away their old phones. This is a problem because electronic waste, including mobile devices, contains hazardous substances that can be harmful if not stored properly or if they end up in municipal waste. For example, an aging battery can start to leak, releasing hazardous substances into the environment or even causing a fire.

Conversely, when you return the phone to your service provider, the devices are properly dismantled by specialized technicians, and the components, including valuable metals, are recovered and recycled using the appropriate process, thus preventing any hazardous substances from being released into the environment as waste.

Yettel notes that until August 30 used or non-working mobile phones can be handed in at any of the company's stores in exchange for a discount of HUF 30,000 on any new mobile phone purchased with a public residential voice tariff and two years' loyalty.

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