The government is considering more strictly regulating the commercial practices of operators to encourage the purchase of refurbished smartphones.
Will the renewal of smartphones offered by operators soon be more strictly regulated? The government is considering it, as evidenced by a roadmap on "digital technology and the environment" published on Tuesday by Matignon. This opens the way to a referral from Arcep to "analyze the commercial practices of subsidized mobile phones (including 1 euro phones) and their impact, particularly with regard to other sales models".
In the government's sights are notably the commercial proposals that operators love to attract new customers, by selling them for very low prices brand new smartphones in exchange for contractual commitments over a period of up to two years. . For the Minister of the Ecological Transition Barbara Pompili and the Secretary of State for Digital Cedric O, these offers push customers to change phones while the previous one is still working, enough to ignite the environmental bill of digital.
And to recall that "the production phase of digital equipment represents more than 75% of the environmental footprint of digital" and that "this equipment being composed of more than 90% of manufacturing content manufactured outside France, their production contributes very little for employment in France ”.
Operators may be concernedQuite the opposite of the players in the smartphone repackaging industry, which could well be the big winners in future government arbitrations. "The activities of the sector of the reuse and reconditioning of computer equipment make it possible to extend the life of the equipment while promoting local employment", judges the text presented on Tuesday by the executive. For the government, “the development and revitalization of the reuse and reconditioning sector would thus help to control the environmental impact of equipment, create jobs and promote digital inclusion”.
If operators are not yet affected, they can already be concerned. Especially since the government has just made a shift in its public purchasing policy. From this year, public buyers will have the obligation to acquire refurbished or second-hand digital products, in order to achieve a total of 20% minimum of purchases of computer and telecommunications equipment made through refurbished equipment.
"We are ready to take measures," quotes a source close to the government, questioned by Reuters, without giving more details. “The objective is clearly to increase the lifespan of terminals,” he adds, referring to smartphones. While specifying that the government would first ask Arcep to examine the operators' contract offers to determine if and how they are accelerating the renewal of the fleet of smartphones in the country.