AT&T Offers $300 Credit With IPhone Trade-In

AT&T Inc. will let customers trade in their old iPhone for a new iPhone 6 and as much as a $300 credit, joining the wave of deals across the industry designed to lure more subscribers.

The offer will start Sept. 12, the same day Apple Inc.’s new devices will be available for pre-order, AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook said today in a phone interview. The phones that are traded in have to be in good working order to qualify, he said. AT&T is now the last of the four major national wireless providers to announce a promotion this week targeted at winning iPhone customers.

Each year, carriers count on new iPhones to help gain market share and data-hungry smartphone users as overall growth in wireless customers slows. After Apple unveiled the iPhone 6 yesterday, Sprint Corp. announced the “iPhone for Life” plan, which for $70 a month lets users rent the iPhone 6 and upgrade to a new version every two years. Verizon Communications Inc. is offering a $200 gift to customers who trade in older models and sign up for a new two-year contract, and T-Mobile US Inc. says it will top the best trade-in price with an added $50.

AT&T already offers two deals that also will be extended to the new versions of the iPhone: get a $100 credit on your bill when you purchase any iPhone and add a new phone line to an AT&T Next account; or buy an iPhone for no money down with AT&T Next and get a $200 discount on any iPad.

Exclusive Carrier

When the iPhone was first introduced in 2007, AT&T was the exclusive carrier in the U.S. -- a deal which lasted until 2011.

Last quarter, AT&T lost the fewest number of contract customers on record, while adding about 1 million new subscribers. Since then, Sprint named a new chief executive officer, Marcelo Claure, after abandoning talks to buy T-Mobile. In the month since, Sprint has ramped up pricing competition with T-Mobile, previously the leader in the industry.

“I challenge anyone in this industry to beat this,” Claure said in an interview yesterday, referring to Sprint’s latest iPhone promotion. “Nobody is going to do it.”

T-Mobile CEO John Legere is holding an event today in San Francisco to discuss his company’s services.

Apple’s latest lineup of smartphones -- the iPhone 6 and its larger cousin, the iPhone 6 Plus -- have screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches. The devices have rounded edges and a thinner frame than earlier models, as well as higher-resolution displays.

With a traditional two-year wireless contract, the iPhone 6 costs $199 to $399, while the 6 Plus is priced at $299 to $499. The devices will come in silver, gold and space gray and are available starting on Sept. 19.