Smartphone kill switch could save Americans $2.6B per year


A recent report reveals that an effective and widely implemented kill switch technology could lead to a reduction in phone theft cases resulting in American mobile users saving up to $2.6 billion per year.

According to the report from William Duckworth, an associate professor of statistics, data, science, and analytics at Creighton University, kill switch technology could help consumers save on phone replacements and reduced insurance premiums.

Duckworth, who surveyed about 1,200 smartphone owners, found that 99 percent of the consumers “feel wireless carriers should give all consumers the option to disable a cell phone if it is stolen.”

83 percent of smartphone owners believe a kill-switch would reduce overall device theft, while 93 percent believe the option to disable a stolen phone should be free from extra fees.

Duckworth also estimated that Americans spend about $580 million a year replacing stolen phones, and $4.8 billion on handset insurance.

“If the kill switch significantly reduced cell phone theft, consumers could save about $580 million a year from not needing to replace stolen phones and another $2 billion a year by switching from premium cell phone insurance (offered by the wireless carriers) to more basic coverage offered by third parties such as Apple and SquareTrade,” Duckworth said.

“My research suggests that at least half of smartphone owners would in fact reduce their insurance coverage if the kill switch reduced the prevalence of cell phone theft.”

The US Senate, US House of Representatives, and the California State Senate have already passed bills for a federal law that would make kill switch for all new smartphones mandatory, in wake of increasing number of smartphone thefts.

However, carriers and smartphone manufacturers are against such a system, claiming it to leave smartphones vulnerable to hackers.