Apple, wireless carriers offer big discounts for iPhone owners trading in their old devices


Apple broadened the price range for its flagship smartphones this week, and announced the iPhone 12 Mini at $ 699 for users spending more than $ 1,000 for more premium models.But for those who want to spend less – in one case, absolutely nothing – to upgrade, Apple and major wireless carriers are offering big discounts to those trading in their older devices.

T-Mobile and Verizon are offering trade-in credits to customers ranging from $ 200 to $ 850 depending on how old their phone is and whether they already have someone with a carrier The plan is. AT&T, meanwhile, will effectively give customers a free phone if they commit to an unlimited data plan for 30 months, while trading in older phones with a value of at least $ 95. (AT&T owns CNN’s parent company, WarnerMedia).

Apple and other smartphone manufacturers also offer their own trade-in programs, as do some third-party resellers. If you trade your old smartphone, Apple is currently offering discounts of up to $ 500 for the iPhone 12 lineup, depending on its age and condition.

The trade-in value of older smartphones can be surprisingly high as trade-in has become an important part of the device’s lifecycle. Beyond offering users the opportunity to get a new phone for a fraction of its price, it helps companies boost sales by making more frequent upgrades, a way for carriers to lure customers into longer contracts Gives, provides more affordable equipment for secondary markets and provides raw materials that companies can reuse to make new phones more environmentally friendly.

Upgrade push

Trade-in programs give wireless carriers and manufacturers a way to entice new customers and prevent existing customers from moving away from their products – as we saw with AT & T’s free iPhone deal.

“This is probably the closest thing to reviving subsidies that first came to the iPhone market in the US,” said David McQueen, research director at tech advisory firm ABI Research.

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A major issue to explore is the purpose of trade-ins is a growing trend of smartphone users to drop a model or two (sometimes even more) before purchasing new devices.

“The motivation of customers to upgrade smartphones has been a problem over the years, with most flagships having very little discrimination with their predecessors,” McQueen said.

While companies hope that the speed and features of 5G provide enough reason to upgrade, industry estimates point towards the fact that such capability is not really important to consumers. Still the proliferation of 5G networks around the world, and limited use cases for smartphones compared to more advanced technology such as self-driving cars, will probably reduce appeal for some people yet to switch.

“At the moment, it does not appear that any of the real reasons shown by (the carriers) other than upgrading to 5G are marketed as just another ‘G’,” McQueen said.

It is too early to know how well the iPhone 12 line will sell, but if 5G is not a big draw, trade-ins may help move the additional upgrade.

Back on the market

Smartphones often have a shelf life and utility that go beyond the frequency of new model releases, giving companies an additional source of revenue for older devices as well.

According to the company’s latest environmental report, Apple sent more than 11 million devices to renew in 2019.

McQueen says that phones that are not resold by carriers or smartphone companies may end up with insurance companies to replace lost or broken devices for their customers or be sent to emerging markets, where consumers are more Remain price conscious.

According to a recent report by Counterpoint Research, most of the growth in the refurbished smartphone market in the last year has come from regions like India, Latin America and Africa.

According to analysts, the programs also sell refurbished phones to older users to buy slightly older premium models.

“This is the kind of used car market; there are some who would prefer an older Mercedes than the Hyundai in 2021,” said Ros Rubin, principal analyst at Retic Research. “This allows them to be more aspirational, in a sense, without having to pay $ 700 or more to buy into the current generation.”

And this is a trend that seems likely to strengthen. Research firm IDC estimated earlier this year that there would be around 333 million smartphones sold in 2023 – the total number sold in 2018 – for a total market value of $ 67 billion.

What is the matter inside

Another reason older phone companies are valuable for what they contain.

Apple is working to curb the environmental impact of its massive global manufacturing operations, expanding recycling programs and pledging to go completely carbon neutral by 2030.

“As manufacturers put more emphasis on this focus, they talk about recycled materials that they use to produce their phones,” Rubin said.

As part of that effort, Apple avoided this commitment to sustainability during Tuesday’s iPhone launch event, claiming that the magnets in the iPhone 12 lineup are all made from 100% recycled rare earth materials. For many years, the company has been developing and showing robots that strip older iPhones and separate components that can be relaunched for new devices. The company also recycles other materials such as aluminum and tungsten that are used in new products.

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