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Oct 17, 2020
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Apple this week widened the price range for its flagship smartphones, announcing the iPhone 12 mini at $699 for users who balk at spending over $1,000 for more premium models.

But for people who want to spend even less — in one case, absolutely nothing — to upgrade, Apple (AAPL) and major wireless carriers are doling out big discounts to those trading in their old devices.
T-Mobile (TMUS) and Verizon (VZ) are offering customers trade-in credits ranging from $200 to $850, depending on how old their phone is and whether they already have a plan with the carrier. AT&T, meanwhile, will effectively give customers a free phone if they commit to an unlimited data plan for 30 months while also trading in older phones with a value of at least $95. (AT&T (T) owns CNN's parent company, WarnerMedia).
Apple and other smartphone makers also offer their own trade-in programs, as do some third-party resellers. Apple is currently offering discounts up to $500 for the iPhone 12 lineup if you trade in your old smartphone, depending on its age and condition.
The trade-in values of old smartphones can be surprisingly high because the trade-in has become a critical piece of the device's lifecycle. Beyond providing users with an opportunity to get a new phone for a fraction of its price, it helps companies boost sales by prompting more frequent upgrades, gives carriers a way to lure customers into long contracts, delivers more affordable devices for secondary markets and provides raw materials that companies can reuse to make new phones more environmentally friendly.
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