The launch of the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus has kicked off a price war for your valuable carrier contract. Not wanting to cede any ground to its smaller competitors, Verizon recently announced its own trade-in program to convince you to buy the iPhone 6 from Big Red instead of Sprint or T-Mobile. On top of that, Sprint has announced yet another iPhone 6-friendly deal.
With iPhone 6 and 6 Plus pre-orders kicking off on Friday, here’s what’s going on with the carriers battling for your iDollars.
Verizon’s free iPhone 6
Following the Apple event on Tuesday, Verizon threw up an ad on its site guaranteeing a $200 trade-in value for any iPhone 4, 4S, 5, 5C, and 5S in good condition, according to numerous reports. The deal essentially gives you a free 16GB iPhone 6 since the on-contract price is $199.
As of Wednesday morning, the trade-in deal was not appearing on Verizon’s site. So it’s not clear if Verizon accidentally published the ad too early or never meant to use the ad at all. We’re checking in with Verizon and will update this post should the company respond.
Another point of consideration is whether Verizon’s $200 credit is actually a good deal compared to other carriers’ trade-in programs. If you’re still rocking an iPhone 4 or 4S it probably is. But checking out T-Mobile’s trade-in calculator, the company is offering $260 for a gray 16GB iPhone 5S from Verizon. That’s an extra $60 in your pocket—although to make that kind of switch you’d want to be sure that T-Mobile service was comparable to Verizon’s in your area. Larger capacity iPhones receive higher trade-in values, especially if you look outside the carrier ecosystem at the wider used electronics market.
Verizon’s trade-in deal also has a bit of delayed gratification to it, as gift cards loaded with your $200 trade-in credit can take as long as two weeks to process. Sprint, by comparison, offers immediate trade-in credit.
Sprint’s iPhone for life
Sprint would really, really like you to get an iPhone 6 from the company—as well as every iPhone you ever own after that. The carrier has already come out with an iPhone-ready competitive trade-in plan. Now, the company is offering an “iPhone for Life” leasing plan that gives you an iPhone 6 and unlimited everything (talk, text, and data) for $70 per month.
On top of that, the deal allows you to trade-in your iPhone for the latest iPhone every two years—hence, the “iPhone for Life” moniker.
The plan breaks down to $20 per month for the device and $50 for service. If you don’t like the iPhone for Life plan, Sprint also offers a financing plan that lets you pay off the iPhone 6 in 24 months and get unlimited everything for $80 per month plus $58 up front. Or you can just opt for the standard two-year contract and pay $200 for the iPhone and $85 a month for unlimited service.
Verizon and Sprint probably won’t have the last say on iPhone deals ahead of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus pre-order rush that begins Friday. On Wednesday afternoon, T-Mobile will host its Uncarrier 7.0 event where it may announce a new low-priced plan for wireless customers.