Prison Inmates Are Big Fans Of The World’s Smallest Mobile Phones

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In early 2000, the smaller smartphones were the trend. Then beginning in the 2010s, smartphones with bigger screens were the thing. But this year, the smaller phones are making a comeback.

The Zanco Fly phone is claimed by many to be the world’s smallest phone, and it’s attracting prison inmate buyers. The reason should be obvious. With a length of just 71.8 mm and width of 23.5 mm, the nano phone is so tiny and easy to hide. Plus, they say it’s 100 percent plastic and is undetectable by body orifice security scanners or BOSS. If you’re not convinced yet, you can read its customer reviews online.

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One customer points out its portability, saying the phone is “very small and easy/painless to hide.” Another customer supported the other’s review by saying, “Put it up my butt with no problem.”


Another proof that minuscule phones like Zanco Fly are intended to be used for questionable business is the lack of information available on its manufacturers and online resellers.

According to Peter Robinson of,  “the Zanco Fly phone, is apparently made by Zini Mobiles Ltd, a company established in the UK in 2013 but struck off and dissolved last summer. It was registered to a forwarding address with just one director, who still appears to be selling the phone through online trading site Alibaba (minimum order: 3,000), where Zini is listed as a British company whose purported total annual revenue exceeds $100 million. Other online sources claim Zini employ, or employed, over 300 people.”


Mr. Robinson was able to contact one reseller in the UK, who then was asked about the product’s reputation as a sought-after device in prisons. The reseller said,  “We don’t say nothing to nobody about that. If that’s what they want to do, they can, but we’ve never tested the phones to see if they set off those scanners; some of them are mainly plastic, but they’re not going to be 100 percent plastic—they still need to have a circuit board.”

However, ex-inmate Carl Cattermole, who wrote a prison survival guide, has advice for individuals who try to insert the phone inside themselves. “I’d say don’t, I’ve heard of people saying they’ve had some of these small phones on charge, and they’ve blown up. But it won’t make a big explosion.” That’s very comforting.


Cattermole said that  it’s not advisable to use your body orifice when trying to smuggle the object into the prison because cavity searches are almost always conducted. But an object that small can easily be brought inside the jail in various ways.

He said, “Staff bring them in or you could buy one from another inmate by doing them a favor or giving them something or you could phone up someone outside and they pay cash to someone else. People normally use them in their cell with people looking out.”


The Zanco Fly phones are not available in leading electronic retail stores, but you can find it in online stores like Amazon and eBay. Mr. Robinson tried it on various networks, and he said it works on “all networks except three.”

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