Sprint Corp. (S) is offering to match other wireless companies’ deals for smartphone trade-ins, following an earlier move by T-Mobile US Inc. (TMUS) designed to lure customers who want to exchange their phones for devices like Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s new iPhone.
Sprint will meet or beat all major U.S. carrier buyback pricing on handsets, for all new lines of service starting immediately, it said in a statement yesterday. The price matching adds to trade-in deals Sprint currently operates including instant credit in-store and as much as $300 for eligible devices toward a new phone purchase.
T-Mobile, Sprint’s smaller rival, said yesterday it will track the market for trade-ins to make sure its prices are better. If a customer finds a better offer from a national competitor, T-Mobile will top it and give the user an additional $50.
Sprint’s offer escalates the competition between the No. 3 and No. 4 carriers in the U.S. who are seeking to grab market share from each other on pricing and plan flexibility. Sprint Chief Executive Officer Marcelo Claure, who took the reins of the Overland Park, Kansas-based carrier last month, is trying to sharpen the competitive edge of the company and reverse a seven-year streak of customer losses.
The two carriers are also announcing the trade-in deals just in time for the debut of the next iPhone. Apple Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook will unveil the company’s latest iPhones and a wearable gadget at an event today. The iPhones will have 4.7-inch and 5.5-inch screens and will include software that lets the handset act as a mobile wallet, while the watch-like wearable device is expected to include features for tracking health and fitness activity, people familiar with the plans have said.
“We’re going to see some of the most phenomenal devices ever in the coming months, and that means a whole lot of Americans trading in their devices and upgrading,” T-Mobile CEO John Legere said in the statement.