The smartphone business is starting to resemble the automobile business, in some ways. Apple, Walmart, AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile US all have announced trade-in programs for smartphones, and all sell devices on installment plans.
You might argue that the smartphone trade-in programs are happening for the same reason that such trade-in programs exist at auto dealerships: they stimulate purchases of new products and models by making it easier for consumers to dispose of their older items.
The appearance of such programs now also indicates that the smartphone market has become saturated, requiring greater effort on the part of service and device providers to sell additional devices.
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And those sales increasingly are to buyers who already use smartphones. Also, if some providers offer trade-ins, and such offers prove popular, any supplier not offering a comparable plan will find itself at a disadvantage.
Another issue, for some users, is that models are introduced so fast these days that a user might well want to buy a new phone before a service commitment has run its course. Allowing customers to purchase new devices more frequently provides more value for some customers, and likely reduces churn.
Starting Sept. 21, 2013, consumers will be able to receive immediate credit towards the purchase of a new smartphone when they trade in their current smartphone at more than 3,600 participating Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations nationwide.
Walmart’s trade-in program offers an immediate credit from $50 to $300 for more than 100 smartphones.
Examples of trade-in values for working, non-damaged smartphones include: $300 for an Apple iPhone 5, $175 for a Samsung Galaxy SIII and $52 for a Samsung Galaxy S2.
Customers should bring their working smartphone to an associate in the electronics department at participating Walmart stores and Sam’s Club locations.
In partnership with CExchange, the value of the smartphone will then be assessed based on the device’s condition and specifications.
Once accepted, the trade-in value will be applied to a new smartphone of their choice with a two-year contract from AT&T, Verizon Wireless or Sprint.
Walmart customers can also apply the trade-in value to smartphones available with prepaid plans like Straight ?Talk.
Edited by Alisen Downey