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Vintage mobile phones making a comeback

Trend for app-free, bulky mobiles means that some of the phones from the 90s are fetching over £800 

London: Remember when the game ‘snake’ was all you needed to be entertained? Now, the retro mobile game could be making a comeback, along with the vintage handsets it was played on.

Consumers harking back to a simpler era are turning their backs on smartphones by embracing bulky, vintage mobiles, with retro features.

 Back in vogue:  Nokia 5210Back in vogue: Nokia 5210

The demand for these old-school phones is so high that some models of old Nokias, Ericssons and Motorolas are now fetching up to £810 a piece.

While they may lack features, these retro phones are simple to use, have batteries that last the week and are practically indestructible, compared to their smartphone equivalent.

“Some people don’t blink at the prices, we have models at more than £800,” said Djassem Haddad, who started the site for selling retro handsets in 2009. “The high prices are due to the difficulty in finding those models, which were limited editions in their time.”

For instance, a Nokia 8800 Arte Gold is currently listed on the site for £810, while a Nokia 8800 could be purchased for £200 (R198 K)

Haddad had been hoping to explore, what he believed to be a niche market, but since last year, sales have taken off. Over the past two to three years, his company has sold some 10,000 handsets, ‘with a real acceleration from the beginning of 2013’.

Among the top-sellers on the website is the Nokia 8210, with a tiny monochrome screen and plastic buttons.

“The ageing population is looking for simpler phones, while other consumers want a second cheap phone,” he said.

Lots of moolah

>> Motorola StarTac 130, launched in 1998, and repainted bright orange was recently offered for £145 (R14 K)
>> Price for an Ericsson handset (A2628) with gold coloured keys was set at £65 (R6.5 K)

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