European cell phone service providers T-Mobile and 02 are encouraging their customers not to upgrade their mobile handsets when their service contracts expire.

Previously, customers were offered new handsets with more up-to-date features, at nominal or no cost, as a perk to renew their subscription with their provider of record.

As ZDNet reports, T-Mobile and 02 customers will now have the option of keeping their old handsets and receiving a substantial discount on their monthly service charges.

T-Mobile says the new option addresses customers’ calls for ‘more affordable’ cell service.

One angle the ZDNet story does not address is the ‘green’ impact of the handset ploy: Millions of cell handsets are currently thrown away every year, when users upgrade to new sets on renewal of their service contracts or when they change providers. That constitutes a mountain of electronic junk, only a small percentage of which is reused or safely recycled.

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