So Tomi Ahonen starts inventing “facts” again. This is from his recent blog post:
“The Lumia series has the hightest return rates of any phone made by Nokia ever (customer returning phones after purchase). The Lumia series has the lowest resale value of any Nokia phone ever released, in many markets the resale value is already zero. It may amuse American readers but yes, in Africa, India, Indonesia, Brazil, China, much of the rest of the world, handsets are sold second-hand, like cars. Your resale value is a significant factor in how much you are willing to pay for your new phone, especially as most people live in countries where phones are not subsidised by the carriers and sold on 2 year contracts. Consumers pay full retail prices for their handsets, ie the real price of an iPhone is 640 dollars, not the 179 dollars that AT&T advertises on a 2 year contract.” 
Now please note I have covered the first part (highest return rates) long time ago and there is still no proof to that direction. In addition to that, it’s a tough competition to get that rating (see here for more).
But this was not about the return rates, this was for the resales value. Apparently somewhere in Africa, India, Indonesia, Brazil or China the resales price of Lumia phones is zero. Right. As if anyone anywhere just hands away their phone for free? There’s ALWAYS a resales value, but it may be ridiculously low. I want to see what those devices cost so let’s Google a bit.
I’m not trying to check every single shop in the areas as I start by assumption that if phones are handed out free somewhere in the area, I’m incapable of finding phones with non-zero pricing (As those will not get sold anyway due to offering of free devices).
What price should we expect? For comparison, here are prices for brand new phones, no carrier locking, Finland, today:
So here are prices for comparison. Now let’s look at the areas mentioned:
For Africa I presume we could try… South Africa? It was good point of reference when I proved that compass on Windows Phone does NOT have a problem in southern hemisphere. OLX website has used Lumia phones for sale. Look and behold, Tomi may be right! First item is Lumia 900 – free!
Now I WANT to have free Lumia 900 (who wouldn’t?) so I’ll open the info page and…
…bummer. Bad title, was not free after all. Lets make that a list item and check for more:
- Lumia 900, 2 months old,Cape Town, R3,500 (290€ / $390), negotiable.
- Lumia 800, 7months old, Benoni, Gauteng, R3,800 (314€ / $425)
- Lumia 610, 3 months old, glass cracked, touch screen broken, R900 (74€ / $100)
Now those prices were absurd considered new ones are cheaper in Finland so I assume they indeed are “negotiable”. But I feel very little will to continue. If phone in unquestioned need of repair is sold for 100 USD, second-hand prices are not zero.
How about India? We can use OLX still but this time OLX India:
- Lumia 710, 4 months old, Rohtak, Haryana, र 9,000 (125€ / $170), fixed price.
- Lumia 800, 7 months old, Kolkata, West Bengal, र 14,700 (204€ / $276), warranty until July 2014.
Both selling for over 50% of sales price in Finland. The 800 I assume has a bit high price due to long warranty. But definitely not zero in India either.
Now I was unable to quickly find second-hand sales market for Indonesia, but neighbouring Malaysia has used Lumia 800 priced at RM 600 and up (143€ / $194 and higher), over 50% of sales price of a new one. Not zero.
Unfortunately I had no luck trying to find any used phone sales place for Brazil or China either, I probably need to practice my skills in local languages before I do searches.
But wait, this is not all. How did Tomi start this? “It may amuse American readers“?
Tomi – American readers are not amused. They have second-hand sales too. I assume you expect people to buy used carrier unlocked Lumia 900 for $0.01 in Unites States, eh?
- Most expensive one sold: Lumia 900, 8 months old, carrier unlocked, $300 in eBay (auction closed after 24 bids).
- Cheapest (non-broken) one sold: Lumia 900, “flaws in the casing”, $157 in eBay (auction closed after 22 bids).
Spread in US seems to be quite wide, but average of the prices matches pretty well the previous over 50% of resales price.
In brief – there is no such thing as free Lumias (although Tomi has claimed something like that before too). And I doubt Nokia sells those for less than manufacturing costs either. Where does he come up with this stuff?