South Africa
In the modern day, everyone wants to have the newest technology. Among new technological devices, the cell phone is the most common device to get upgraded. Cell phone upgrades rose almost nine percent since last year.

Cell phone carriers use cell phone upgrades as a way to retain their customers. Upgrades give users the ability to get new cell phone at a lower cost, but if the subscribers terminate the contract early, they will have to pay for the original prices of the phones.

On the other hand, people upgrade their phone more frequently (from once every two years to twice a year.) The cost of these upgrades is expensive. To upgrade to a new cell phone early, subscribers have to pay in the range of $140 to $200. In addition to the cost of the upgrade, with some cell phone carriers, the users still have to pay activation fees for their new phone, around $40 to $60. Besides, these expenses do not account for accessories for the new phone (e.g. phone cases, bluetooth headset.)

Everyone should stay updated with technology; updating twice a year, however, is unnecessary. The phone capabilities and features do not change much during the year. Most of the changes are made mainly on larger screens, designs, and extra applications which can be obtained through the app markets. These changes do not have any tremendous effect on phone functionality.

Instead of spending money on indulgences, people could put more effort on a more pressing issue: global poverty. There are many people still living on under $1.25 per day. In Africa, if one dollar is invested in clean water supply for poverty-ridden areas, $3 to $34 will be received as return in global economic growth. With $200, the Water Project would be able to work with local water providers to give a traditional family (four persons) access to clean water. The same $200 can be used to feed a family in poverty for half of a year.

Phong Pham

Sources: The Water Project, The Water Project – Poverty, The Wall Street Journal, FOX 31 Denver, Journal Sentinel