updated 11:20 pm EST, Thu December 9, 2010
Memo backs free iPhone 3GS and adds BBerry Torch
A last-minute memo Thursday night has confirmed Best Buy's plans to offer a free iPhone 3GS on Friday. As promised, anyone either adding a new line on a two-year contract or making a valid upgrade will get an instant rebate on just the one day. The note intercepted by BGR didn't provide reasons why the iPhone was suddenly open to a major sale but did put it in the context of a larger "Free Smartphone Sales Event" where it wouldn't be the only device.
A second device, the BlackBerry Torch, will also be free as of Friday, the memo said. Unlike the iPhone deal, however, Best Buy would run the promotion for the rest of December, suggesting it wasn't confident one day would be enough to spur sales.
The Curve 3G will be free two days later, December 12, and will also see its promo run to the end of the month.
Best Buy has been selling phones aggressively for much of the holiday season but is still taking an unusual step with the iPhone, which has never been free on contract in the US. It follows steep discounts from Radio Shack on both the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4 and suggests that AT&T, Apple or both are determined to commit as many users to iPhone contracts as possible before 2011. Many expect the sales drive to stem from a rumored CDMA iPhone that could see out-of-contract AT&T users switch carriers easily.