Mark Bridge writes:
In this week’s podcast feature, Iain Graham has been taking a look at ‘box breaking’ in the UK. Box breaking can take a variety of forms but it generally involves buying a ‘pay as you go’ mobile phone at a price that’s subsidised in part by a mobile network - and selling it at a higher price to someone who won’t connect it to the original network. The package of phone and SIM card is effectively ‘broken’, with the SIM often sold separately.
It’s a subject that returned to the headlines last month when Mobile News reporter Michael House contacted a number of UK retailers about buying prepay phones and shipping them out of the country.
Michael explained how some box breakers were claiming to make £60,000 from a single trip abroad, which could be costing mobile network operators hundreds of millions of pounds every year. Some retailers were happy to sell him dozens of mobile phones for export, while others maintained an in-house policy of not selling any handsets that might be exported.
For a different perspective Iain then spoke to Faisal Sheikh, who runs the Fone Doctors mobile business in London. Faisal said box breakers were simply entrepreneurs taking advantage of a market opportunity. Even without subsidised prices, he suggested that a lack of availability in some regions would ensure the continuation of box breaking and exporting.
|Iain's conversations with Michael House and Faisal Sheikh are available if you click here. Listen to the full interview by using the built-in audio player on our website - or download all our podcasts automatically via iTunes or from our RSS feed.