LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - So, you're all amped up by the new iPhone announcement and you're ready to use that upgrade to get your piece of the action, but you really want the best deal for your money. Good news! Carriers are really motivated to help you get that deal right now. Bad news, it may mean a two-year commitment. "But most people aren't doing two-year contracts any longer," you say. Well, yes and no. I'll explain!
Right now, you're going to get the best deal if you're trading in your "old" iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s or 6s Plus. Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint are all offering you either a substantial trade-in credit for a "no cost" upgrade to the 32GB iPhone 7, for a limited time, at the time of purchase. That applies to new and existing customers. The caveat is that "no cost" part. You will be charged taxes and in some cases, upgrade fees at that time so you may still wind up shelling out around $100 for the upgrade. You have to read the fine print though! On Verizon the 32GB iPhone's full price is $769.99 with the trade in credit of $649.99 which means that you're still going to be making monthly payments on the difference. Also, in the fine copy on Verizon's deal is this little ditty: Line must be active for 2 yrs. for full credit. Truth is, if you cancel, you'll just be responsible for the full price, remaining balance, of the phone at that time.
Sprint is a bit different deal in that, with your trade-in, you're locking yourself into a 2 year lease. Reading the fine print, $0/month installment agreement is only going to be available for the 32GB iPhone 7. Since the iPhone 7 Plus is more expensive, you're going to be paying $5.61 a month for the life of the 2 year lease. Early termination means you'll pay the full price at that time, or give up the phone.
But, what if you don't have an iPhone 6, 6 Plus, 6s or 6s Plus to trade in? Most of the carriers will allow you to trade in a later model iPhone or even an Android phone but you will get less of a trade-in credit. For example, on T-Mobile you can trade in an iPhone 5, 5s, 5c or SE and still get a $399.99 credit. Verizon will take your Android or iPhone 4 and give you up to $300 for trading it in. They have a list of eligible Androids which includes phones like the Samsung Galaxy S6, S6 edge, Note 5, LG G4 or V10, HTC One M8 and even the Droid Maxx and Turbo.
Of course, with all of these trade-ins there are going to be some exceptions and provisions but they're pretty common sense. Your device must work, can't have a cracked screen, be in good cosmetic condition, and must be paid off. Now if you're still trying to figure out which carrier is going to give you the best deal, the best advice we can give you is the same old advice we always give in this case and that is that the best carrier is the one that gives you the best signal and service for your dollar where you most use your phone. A great deal on Sprint does you no good if you can only get signal at work and not home, or vice versa. If you travel a lot and coverage is spotty and unreliable then it may not be worth it to go with a particular carrier no matter how good the deal.
Also, keep in mind that Apple now offers their own financing options for iPhones but you must have qualifying credit. If your credit passes muster then it's definitely worth a look. If not, then those carriers are your best bet if you want to keep the latest iOS tech.