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The big picture: Most people purchasing a new smartphone these days have a decision to make regarding the handset they are replacing. Years ago, phones often ended up as hand-me-downs or got tossed in a junk drawer to deal with later. Nowadays, carriers and device makers want them back and they’re using attractive promotions to convince shoppers to hand them over. Why are they so interested in getting them back, you ask? Unsurprisingly, it all comes down to money.
The Wall Street Journal’s Joanna Stern recently asked major carriers and smartphone manufacturers about their trade-in businesses, but none were forthcoming with details. She ultimately found a third-party company called U.S. Mobile Phones that was willing to talk and even let her into their warehouse.
U.S. Mobile Phones is a wholesaler and distributor that buys traded-in phones from carriers, refurbishes …