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O2 offers incentives to end phone upgrade insanity

Keep your old handset and gain call credits

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UK mobile phone network O2 is to pay customers not to upgrade their handsets - a move that turns the usual approach to phone sales on its head - all in the name of going green.

O2 said today it will give customers £95 call credit and donate £10 to the Energy Saving Trust (EST) charity if they agree to keep their current handset for at least a year longer. Punters can also opt for £100 credit, but no money will go to the EST.

New customers who just buy a SIM to use in their old handset will trigger a £5 donation to the EST. Anyone who signs up for the O2 Energy Saver deal will get a new contract. These options will be offered to punters from 28 April.

O2 claimed its goal was to reduce the amount of carbon emitted into the atmosphere by not only manufacturing new handsets but also distributing them to carriers, to shops and on to consumers.

Still, given the weight phone makers put behind the regular, four-times-a-year introduction of new handsets, it's hard to see O2's efforts, commendable though they may be, having any real effect on carbon reduction. Still, you've got to start somewhere, we suppose.

The money going to the EST will be used to build up a fund which, from June 2007, will be used to award grants to communities keen to implement carbon-reduction schemes of their own.

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