Verizon promises free 5G phones as lure to carrier jumpers

Verizon is promising free 5G phones and borrowing T-Mobile's strategy of covering network switching costs, as it tries to lure new subscribers to its unlimited cellular plans. The promotion also covers existing Verizon subscribers who may not have a 5G phone, and allows for trade-ins of even broken handsets or those with cracked screens.

Exactly how much you actually get for a trade-in will depend on that condition, of course, along with the age of the phone itself. A working Galaxy S8, for instance, would be eligible for up to $700 against a new 5G phone; a Galaxy S7, though, would only get you $350 toward that new device.

At most, Verizon says, you'll get up to $700 for an iPhone, or up to $800 for an Android device. It's worth noting that you get the trade-in value spread out over 24 months, too, to help offset the payment plan value of a new phone. You'll need to sign up to an eligible unlimited 5G plan as well.

As for switching, there Verizon says it'll be offering a $300 gift card for those who would need to leave their existing carrier while still under contract. You'll get the gift card around eight weeks after applying for it; new business customers will get it as a bill credit after 2-3 bills, Verizon confirms.

Business subscribers will also get access to One Talk and BlueJeans meetings.

Coaxing subscribers across from other networks can be a lucrative business for carriers, and it's something we've seen T-Mobile pursue aggressively over the past years. Verizon has offered trade-ins before, of course, but this time around it's expanding the eligibility to cover broken devices, it says.

Those taking advantage of that will still get the other recent perks the carrier announced. That includes free six or twelve month Apple Arcade or Google Play Pass subscriptions – depending on if you're an iPhone or an Android user – together with the Disney+ bundle and Apple Music.