DESPITE smartphone manufacturers’ best efforts, there is still a big market in Vietnam’s HCM City, often driven by nostalgia, for old feature phones, which is driving their prices to unreasonable levels.
At a used phone shop on Pham Ngu Lao Street, District 1, old Nokia, Motorola and Sony phones are being displayed at prices ranging from VN d2 million (US$87) all the way up to 10 million dongs ($440).
A Nokia 8800 Anakin produced up to the end of the last decade costs 3.5 million dongs , an 8800 Sirocco costs 4.5 million dongs, an 8800 Arte costs 7 million dongs , while Nokia E71 and E72 and Motorola all fetch several million dongs.
“I spent 4.7 million dongs to buy a Nokia 8800 because I do not use many applications on smart phones and I like old designs,” Nguyen Dinh Huy of District 8 said.
“Every month my shop sells around 300 old phones,” Hoang Gia Bao, the owner, said. Another shop in Le Van Sy Street sells old luxury phones such as Nokia gold-plated versions for 10 – 30 million dongs.
Most customers looking for old feature phones are middle-aged and buy them to go on a nostalgia trip, though there is also a very practical reason for many: the fear of losing information to hackers.
“Many phone manufacturers have started producing old models again,” Nguyen Trung Duong, the owner of the shop on Le Van Sy, said.
Stories have been doing the rounds in the international media for the last few years about companies bringing back some iconic feature phone models. But the question is will they make their way into Vietnam. Old-phone fans will have to wait and see.