Verizon Giving Free iPhones to Customers Who Switch to Unlimited Data Plan

Verizon, which shocked the wireless industry by finally offering an unlimited data plan on Monday, added another enticement for customers defecting from another carrier: free phones.

After announcing the new unlimited data plan, which starts at $80 for one line, Verizon (VZ) on Monday said customers who switched from a competitor and traded in a recent smartphone could get one of a host of new phones for free, including an Apple iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, a Samsung Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge or a Google Pixel. Customers trading in an older smartphone could get one of the new phones for $5 a month for two years, or a total of $120.

The moves comes as Verizon faces fierce competition in wireless from smaller competitors T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S). The two challengers introduced less expensive unlimited data plans last summer, attracting millions of new subscribers. Both carriers also targeted Verizon in Super Bowl ad campaigns and moved to cut prices even further.

Verizon’s free with trade-in phone offers also require that a customer stay with the carrier for two years. If a customer leaves early, they must pay a prorated portion of the cost of the phone. The offer is much the same as the deals Verizon and its competitors offered at various points during the holiday shopping season last year.

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SOURCE: Fortune, Aaron Pressman