Fairphone Easy: Smartphone subscriptions become cheaper the longer you use your cell phone

The Dutch manufacturer Fairphone has announced a subscription service for its mobile phone. Subscription is more expensive than direct purchase but includes repair.

Fairphone Easy: Smartphone subscription becomes cheaper the longer you use the cell phone

Fairphone is now also offering its current Fairphone 4 mobile phone as a subscription: instead of buying it directly for EUR 650, you can subscribe to the sustainable smartphone from the Netherlands for EUR 21 a month in future. The highlight: the longer you keep the cell phone undamaged, the cheaper the five-year subscription becomes.

Ideally, you pay 21 euros per month in the first year, 19 euros per month in the second year and in the third Year 17 euros per month. In the fourth and fifth year you pay 13 euros per month. This results in a total cost of 996 euros for mobile phone rental if no repairs are required.

Additional charge of several hundred euros

For the time being, Fairphone Free is only available in the manufacturer’s Dutch home market. If you opt for the subscription, you get a Fairphone 4 in green with 256 GB of storage space and 8 GB of RAM, which usually costs 650 euros. In addition, you get a display film and a case for the mobile phone with the subscription.

So there is still an additional charge of several 100 euros in the subscription compared to direct purchase. Fairphone justifies this with free repairs: subscribers can send in their device at any time if they discover a defect. The mobile phone will be repaired at no extra charge – but then the annual cost reduction will no longer apply. The subscription also includes the option to have the battery replaced up to once a year. This battery replacement is not considered a repair and thus does not torpedo the annual cost reduction, Fairphone said when asked by heise online.

Subscriptions are not allowed to make “permanent changes” to the cell phone. It is also not permitted to give the mobile phone to an independent repair service or to lend a hand. If the subscribed phone is stolen, you should report it to Fairphone and the police within 72 hours. Then 150 euros are due as a deductible – if you fail to report in time, you have to pay the entire value of the smartphone to Fairphone. Even if the device is destroyed through your own fault, you have to pay the current value, according to the terms and conditions.

The green conscience

Ultimately, with the Fairphone subscription, you probably also pay for the green conscience: Fairphone writes that the subscription is more sustainable than direct purchase because it encourages using a device for longer periods of time with free repairs and long-term incentives. Fairphone also wants to ensure that smartphones are recycled at the end of the subscription. Old mobile phones that have not been disposed of are a well-known problem in the industry. According to Bitkom, there are more than 200 million unused mobile phones in drawers in Germany alone.

According to a current study by the Fraunhofer Institute, the influence of a smartphone is reduced global warming by 31 percent if the device is used for five years. Fairphone gives a five-year guarantee on the Fairphone 4 and promises software updates until at least the end of 2025. The aim is to update the smartphone by the end of 2027 and also to offer updates for Android 14 and 15.

Fairphone Easy is currently only offered in the Netherlands. The market launch in Germany is conceivable in 2023, depending on reception, Fairphone said.

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