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Report: Kill Switch Could Save Americans $2.6B Annually

Tue, 04/01/2014 - 9:37am
Andrew Berg

Apple's iPhone has been a target of thieves (Image Source: AP)Whether you're for or against mandatory kill switch technology in smartphones, at least one study says such a feature could saved consumers bundles. 

According to a study conducted by Creighton University Professor Dr. William Duckworth, kill switch technology could save Americans up to $2.6 billion per year by reducing the amount they pay in smarpthone insurance and hacking away at the amount they actually pay to replace lost or stolen devices.  

Duckworth's reasoning begins with Americans spending about $580 million per year replacing stolen phones and another $4.8 billion per year paying for premium cell phone insurance from their wireless carriers. 

"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 writes in a summary of the report. 

Part of Duckworth's methodology involves conclusions that he extrapolates from a survey he conducted of over 1200 cell phone users, as well as figures from ComScore and Consumer Reports. 

"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," Duckworth said. 

The study comes on the heels of new legislation introduced last month that would require all phones sold in the U.S. to have a “kill switch” theft deterrent device installed.

The idea is that such technology would eliminate the incentive for thieves to target phones. The FCC estimates that one in three U.S. thefts involve cell phones.

Read: Hasty Kill Switch Legislation Has Flaws.  

Read: Kill Switch Has Merit in Theory More Than in Practice. 

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