Smart phone kill switch could save consumers more than $3 billion

Aug 4, 2014

Updated research on a kill switch for smart phones shows it could save consumers more than $3 billion.

Creighton University business professor William Duckworth first released the study on kill switches in February. At that time, he found that consumers could save $2.6 billion if a kill switch—a way to disable a phone if it’s lost or stolen—was available. Now, Duckworth’s research shows that savings could be three-point-four billion dollars.

Duckworth says the update is based on new statistics on the number of smart phones, and the number that are stolen.

"The number of smart phones in the U.S. grew, which is not surprising, it grew by about 14 percent. But the number that really caught my eye was the number of stolen smart phones has gone up 94 percent. So you would expect those two numbers to stay about even if smart phone theft was an ongoing problem, but not getting worse."

Duckworth says smart phone premium insurance can be expensive, up to 11 dollars a month depending on the carrier. He says with a kill switch, the incentive to steal a phone would disappear, reducing the need for insurance to cover theft.

Duckworth says he hopes to see cell phone carriers implement a kill switch by next summer.