With Apple rolling out its newest iPhone models, Sprint and T-Mobile are gearing up for a wave of smartphone trade-ins. Both companies on Monday announced new offers for customers who want to upgrade to newer, shinier devices.
Under Sprint's offer, customers receive an in-store credit and up to $300 for eligible trade-ins. Customers can trade in as many as three phones per line at one time, and up to five phones in a single calendar year.
T-Mobile is offering to beat any trade-in offer by a competing national carrier and to pay customers an additional $50 on top of that amount. The limited-time offer kicks off on Sept. 17, and applies within a seven-day window of a customer making a trade-in.
'Major Upgrade Cycle'
A wave of new smartphones and phablets -- phones with larger, tablet-like screens -- is expected to hit the market in the weeks and months to come. Apple was getting the most attention Tuesday with its announcements.
Then there's Samsung, which last week announced the October release of its new Galaxy Note 4 phablet smartphone. Later in the year, Samsung also plans to begin selling its Galaxy Note Edge, a large-screen phone whose display extends onto a curved edge.
Other new devices expected to hit stores this fall include a new Ascend P7 from Huawei, Sharp's Aquos Crystal, Motorola's updated Moto X and a line of Xperia phones from Sony.
According to a recent analysis from the digital measurement and analytics firm comScore, this fall "could be a major upgrade cycle for many iPhone owners."
Thirty-five percent of all existing iPhone owners said they were likely to upgrade their devices over the next six months, comScore found. Nearly 20 million people -- the largest segment of iPhone owners -- have an iPhone 4S, now two generations back, and 40 percent of those said they were ready for an upgrade.
The Rise of Big Screens
We contacted comScore marketing insights analyst Adam Lella to get his thoughts on upgrade activity in the smartphone market.
Until now, Apple's phones have generally featured smaller screens, while smartphones with larger screen sizes are becoming increasingly popular, Lella said.
"Samsung's been very successful with that," he said, adding that Apple now is "expanding into that realm."
According to comScore's analysis, U.S. sales of smartphones with screens of 4.5 inches or larger have grown by 108 percent over the past year. Samsung, Apple's biggest competitor in the rival Android system, enjoys a 69-percent market share among large-screen smartphone owners.
"If consumer demand alone weren't enough motivation for Apple to make a foray into this market, then the competitive situation is likely to be," the analysis concluded.
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Posted: 2014-09-10 @ 9:00am PT