updated 02:30 pm EDT, Mon August 15, 2011
Verizon to give 100 to new smartphone buyers
A newly uncovered promo from Verizon may have given clues as to the timing of the iPhone 5 on the network. The Basic to Smartphone deal will give a $100 gift card to anyone who trades up from a basic feature phone to a smartphone if they qualify for an upgrade and are willing to sign another two-year contract with a smartphone. Owners have to mail in the original phone in 30 days, Phone Arena said, and will get the card within three weeks.
All smartphones appear to be covered by the deal and should include iPhones along with Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone.
The promo is so fare due to run in at least Verizon's Western area between August 18 and September 30, conveniently ending shortly before a widely rumored October iPhone 5 release. Carriers seldom run large discounts when a major smartphone is on the market as they know the new device will sell well and don't want to damage profits. iPhone buyers tend to upgrade more aggressively and wouldn't recoup any sales pricing as quickly as they would otherwise.
The promo also suggests Verizon doesn't have the same sales expectations for other phones launching at or near the same time, such as the Motorola Droid Bionic and even an LTE-equipped Samsung Galaxy S II. Verizon is still considered the premier Android carrier in the US but saw the iPhone immediately become its top-selling phone in February, reducing the incentive to support Android.