back to article Australians still buy 100,000 feature phones a quarter

Vendors shipped 2.16 million mobile phones in Australia during 2017's second quarter, 100,000 of which were feature phones. So says an analyst from IDC's Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, which says this year's total topped Q2 2016 by 330,000, for 18.4 per cent year-on-year growth. The feature phones were 3G‑capable, a …

  1. regregular


    30k - 35k drug dealers nationwide that toss their phone about once a month?

    Elderly people who keep losing or breaking them?

    1. J. R. Hartley

      They can afford it. Drugs cost a fucking fortune over there. It's an utter disgrace, I'm in the wrong business.

      1. the Jim bloke

        Counter productive reporting

        Every news report saying the police have made a drug bust worth X millions in street value, is just telling kids that selling drugs is THE way to make money.

      2. TReko

        Ozzie cops and customs are the most expensive in the world to bribe.

        1. WayneH-nz

          Ozzie cops and customs are the most expensive in the world to bribe.

          Only recently, in the late 90's early 2000's there was a saying here in NZ, Queensland's police force, the best that money can buy.

          Drugs are expensive here too.

  2. TReko

    Smaller is better

    Perhaps the feature phone users like a small phone that can fit in your pocket?

    Personally, I'm tired of phones evolving into 5.5" screen fondleslabs. The Sony Z5 Compact with a 4.6" screen was about the biggest I was comfortable with.

    1. joed

      Re: Smaller is better

      Or maybe they like a device that not only will let them make call for help but will also last for days until rescue mission found them stranded in the bush. I bet that there's little use for a smartphone with all the fancy LTE (but no service) in the interior of Australia.

    2. Youngone Silver badge

      Re: Smaller is better

      I have a friend who has a dumb phone of some description. He has no interest in any of the things a smart phone could do for him, and likes the fact he only needs to charge it once a week.

      Go luck to him I say, it takes all sorts and he knows what he wants.

  3. Andrew Commons

    Smart phone breakage rate?

    My recent purchase of one of these was driven by the failure of my smart phone. It covered me while it was being repaired.

    Does 100,000 failures a quarter seem unreasonable?

  4. mc nobby

    More Secure

    Since the media gives the impression that every app store is crawling with malware and every phone is infected with malware from the NSA tracking everything we say and do. A dumb feature phone is doing to be more secure

  5. Tim99 Silver badge

    Old Fart Phones

    Is what my wife calls them (we are both in that grouping). A number of our friends just want to be able to make phone calls, with days between charges. Most of them are happy to receive text messages, but the keypads are to small/unfriendly for older eyes and fingers. Many of our friends have the cheapest android around (Usually bought because the nice young person in the shop recommended it) and only use it to make calls with a few text messages - The rest of the ecosystem is often ignored.

    A couple of days ago I helped a neighbour set up her new phone: One of the last Alcatel Onetouch prepaid available ($29). After it was working she said "Why has it got a radio, camera and music player?" I only want it to make phone calls. Are we getting basic phones designed for developing countries because they are cheap, instead of something designed for older people?

  6. Pu02

    Dumb user buys smart phone. Changes mind, replaces with device they can use

    The Smart phone gets increasingly crippled by povware and malware. Dumb user fails to get smarten up enough to maintain the P0wned phone = Smart phone no longer owned by dumb user.

    Dumb user landfills smartphone. Buys feature phone to be able to use a phone with features they can see and use, rather than features others can find and abuse.

  7. Tannin

    Of course, the 100,000 per quarter understates the actual usage of feature phones because (unless I miss my guess) on average people keep a feature phone for much longer than a smart phone. Feature phones don't go out of date (short of major network technology changes), their batteries last years longer (because 50% of a week is still several days and perfecly usable, where 50% of a day is not usable), they don't get pawned, hacked, stolen, infected, crippled by OS and application software updates ... they just work.

    So, as a first approximation, regard the 5% sales figure as indicating something like a 15% usage figure.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Usage" meaning what exactly, though? My parents both have phones, which they keep turned off nearly all the time. They have them for emergencies in case their car breaks down or to make calls when traveling. My mom's is actually some sort of smartphone - never really looked it so I'm not sure what, but I'm sure it was the cheapest she could get when she had to replace the old one because 2G was getting shut off by her carrier. She buys a bucket of 2000 minutes that expire in a year and uses about 50. They use their landline normally, with the same number they had when I was a little kid.

      1. CFtheNonPartisan

        You should encourage her to use it to make sure it keeps working. My partner's dual SIM smart phone went dead when Optus turned off the 2G and she didn't notice for 3 weeks! One or the other SIM would work, but not both at the same time. A vendor version Android upgrade fixed it, and she suddenly got lots of weeks and days old messages :D

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No "big shift" to Android

    Comparing Q4 2016 to Q2 2017 and trying to infer a shift between iOS and Android is stupid. Apple releases new phones in late Q3 every year, so Q4 is always their biggest quarter, and Q2 is always their smallest.

    If you want to infer shifts in market share you should use yearly figures.

  9. Olivier2553

    I use a phone and stick to it. As other mentioned, no need to recharge it twice a day, it works well to... phone. It has a keyboards with buttons, so i don't even have to look at it to answer a phone (or find a name in the directory, I usually can blind type).

    It is robust, it will last 2 years at least (unless I step on it), it will support falling from my shirt pocket on a regular basis, it's secure, it is not fancy so no one would want to steal it from me, it is small and light enough and still allows me to make phone calls...

    And I am never far away from an Internet connection and a proper computer, and when I am not close to one, I am in an environment where I don't need any, like swimming, taking a walk, going to the super market, to the movies... Any information that cannot wait a couple of hours before checking is not really worth checking; if I cannot remember to run the google search when I go back home, obviously, I did not really care for the result in the first place.

    OK, I also have a smartphone that I use as an expensive mp3 player and sometime as GPS receiver, but it has no SIM in it.

  10. iLurker

    This market segment is not limited to drug dealers - people who work in high security environments such as defense and defense contractors - cannot take a smartphone into a restricted area. A dumb phone is generally ok (no camera, no storage, no wifi or Bluetooth, no USB or other ports, no apps).

    They probably account for most of that 5%.

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