Use of ‘dumb phones’ rising in Turkey after removal of phone ban in military
ISTANBULAfter the Turkish military allowed thousands of annual new recruits to use mobile phones in their barracks, the demand for out-of-date, inexpensive phones, dubbed “dumb phones,” has boomed in the country.
The military’s announcement on April 13 to remove the mobile phone ban created a surge in demand for these non-smart phones.
One of the country’s largest online shopping platforms, Sahibinden.com, has said that at least 639 non-smart phones, which offer only calls and text messages, without internet access, were sold on its platform between the removal of the ban on April 20 until the end of May, compared to almost zero in the previous months.
“The average price is 69 Turkish liras [$25] for those phones. The most popular brand is Nokia. Samsung, Sony Ericsson and Panasonic have followed Nokia. We expect much more rise in the demand in the following months,” the company said in a written statement on June 2.
The company also said new non-smart models were expected to be launched in the country to meet the demand.
With the removal of the ban, around $100 million worth of additional revenue was expected with the rise in demand for older-style phones and SIM cards, according to sector representatives.
The army said in its statement it aimed to increase soldiers’ morale and let them connect with their family and loved ones by allowing the use of mobile phones in barracks within limited hours. The recruits are not allowed to use mobile phones between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Around 500,000 young men in Turkey are called to mandatory military service each year, according to official figures.
It is compulsory for all male citizens in Turkey to perform mandatory military service sometime after they turn 20 years old. The duration of service varies according to a person’s education level. Those who hold a four-year university degree can complete their military service in six months, while those without such a degree in one year.