VODAFONE in the UK is to start selling second-hand iPhones in an effort to fill demand from budget-conscious consumers.
The mobile phone giant said it would begin selling the "nearly new" iPhone 4 and other smartphones to both pay-as-you-go and pay-monthly users.
The phones, which cost up to £155 (€200) less than a new iPhone4, will be aimed at getting more people to start using data on their phones, which can be a lucrative stream for business.
The world's second-largest wireless carrier is targeting higher data consumption as Britain's weak economy drives declines in call revenue.
Vodafone's sales from UK phone plans fell 2.1pc in the six months through September, partially offset by a 5pc growth in data revenue.
"'Nearly new' is designed to make it even more affordable for people, especially those who prefer pay-as-you-go services, to get their hands on a smartphone," Vodafone said in a statement. "It is part of our ambition to get the internet into the hands of our customers."
Despite the change, customers here will have to wait to be able to buy second-hand phones direct from the major networks.
Vodafone Ireland does not carry any refurbished phones and would not comment on any future plans it may have, citing competition constraints.
O2 did carry refurbished iPhone 3GS and 3G several years ago but no longer does and has no plans to reintroduce such a scheme.
Instead, customers who want a second-hand phone will have to settle for buying one either on line or in the plethora of phone and electronic shops that have sprung up in recent years.
Many of these sell top-of-the-range devices at reduced prices, but there have been concerns about the origin of some gadgets.