Skip to main content

Top five uses for an old mobile phone

Whenever upgrading to a new mobile phone there is always the quandary as what to do with the old handset, where many of us are completely at fault at just hoarding these devices and they serve no purpose other than to take up valuable draw space.

In this guide we are exploring uses of these old mobile phones that have been discarded to one side and are now just gathering dust, where they could actually be put to good use, in one way or another.


The much more greener option is to recycle an old handset, with a thought to being charitable at this time of the year and offer the mobile to a Charity - for them to gain some use out of the device.

The British Red Cross accepts mobile phones for recycling, with up to 50-percent of the phone's market value going towards projects such as improving water and sanitation facilities in Asia.

Oxfam also has found uses for old handsets and can turn them into money for tools, seeds, schoolbooks and much more.

Help The Aged recycles donated phones through a company called zonzoo. This organisation receives a minimum of £3 for every mobile, where £5 pays for 50 information advice leaflets and £10 pays for a smoke detector that lasts ten years.


An old mobile phone can be turned into a dedicated VoIP Skype phone, without the need for a SIM card to actually be inside of the handset - by only using WIFI. Skype mobile supports the Apple iOS, Symbian and Android mobile operating systems on a number of different phones for this purpose alone.

This in turn allows for free Skype-to-Skype calls whilst away from the computer, with video calling and instant messaging too; see the list of compatible handsets here.


There are a number of websites that have been established soley for the purpose of selling an old mobile phone for money, or even exchanged for vouchers to be used in high-street shops, such as Argos or Debenhams.

We have personally used a number of these sites over the years and have now come to rely on a single one -

This website actually compares all of the most commonly used handset trade-in sites, whilst delivery the best price for a mobile phone in money or vouchers.

Trade In

Even before thinking about upgrading a mobile phone to a new one, consider trading in the device in for a discount on the new handset or just to be kind to the environment and to your precious cupboard space.

A number of mobile phone networks offer trade-in schemes, along with a range of popular high street retailers too.

Carphone Warehouse's trade-in deals can be found here; Phones4U scheme is located here; Three UK ‘s procedure is here and Vodafone's trade-in deal methodology is located here - to name but a few.

Emergency Phone

Keep the old mobile as an emergency back-up phone, just in case you forget to charge the new handset; just make sure the mobile is fully charged up, every now and then.

As another form of an ‘emergency phone', think about adding the older handset to the car's emergency break down kit. This could literally be a life saver and used as a true emergency phone, as even without a SIM card as a mobile can still be used to dial an emergency service.

Rob Kerr is a journalist with more than 14 years experience of news, reviews and feature writing on titles such as Wired, PC Magazine, The Register, The Inquirer, Pocket-Lint, Mobile Industry Review, Know Your Mobile and The Gadget Show. The mobile phone world is his real passion and forte, having owned a handset as far back as 1994 where he has seen them grow from just a business tool to a necessity in everyone’s everyday life.