Carriers kill free iPhone 7 offers, Wave7 reports

iPhone 7 (Apple)
Image: Apple

All those free iPhone 7 deals for users who trade in the previous version of Apple’s smartphone didn’t last long.

Sprint and T-Mobile killed their offers of a free iPhone 7 last week, following AT&T’s move to end a similar promotion a week earlier, Wave7 Research observed in a research note to subscribers. Verizon no longer promotes a free iPhone 7 but continues to try to entice users by offering as much as $550 when they trade in an iPhone 6S or 6S Plus.

“All four carriers launched the iPhone 7 with offers of a free 32GB model (read as $650 credit) with trade-ins of certain high-end devices,” Wave7 wrote. “However, Sprint’s offer expired (Friday) and T-Mobile’s offer expired on 10/3. AT&T’s offer expired on 9/26 and was replaced by a port-in offer for the iPhone or top Galaxy devices, although this offer requires DirecTV or U-verse TV services.  Verizon’s offer is still in place, but as of 10/1 is less attractive by $100.”

Apple’s latest flagship came to market last month with “unprecedented” carrier support, BayStreet Research’s Cliff Maldonado said recently, as carriers hoped to leverage the phone to attract new customers and lure existing users to sign on for two more years. All four major U.S. operators offered a free iPhone 7 to customers who traded in their iPhone 6 and agreed to a 24-month finance plan.  

T-Mobile was the first carrier to begin offering the promotion, and the operator was quickly joined by Sprint, Verizon and AT&T.

Those promotions proved effective, even if they caused profit margins to winnow: Sprint said last month that pre-orders of the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus were up more than 375 percent in their first three days compared to last year’s release of the iPhone 6, and T-Mobile said the gadget had “gone on to shatter all previous iPhone pre-order records at T-Mobile.”

That was great news for Apple, of course, which saw a 23 percent year-over-year drop in iPhone revenue during the second quarter. Apple appears to be very well positioned to continue its momentum during the holiday season thanks in part to Samsung’s ongoing nightmare with overheating batteries in its flagship Galaxy Note 7. So while the end of free iPhone 7 promotions may result in somewhat slower sales, Apple is still likely to enjoy a happy – and lucrative – holiday season.

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