Verizon said it would stop giving customers a free iPhone 7 for a trade in of an older model after Friday, leaving Sprint as the only carrier still offering the hot promotion.
Verizon (VZ) was the last of the big four carriers to announce an iPhone 7 giveaway. T-Mobile, which kicked off the promotion spree, and AT&T ended their free iPhone offers last week.
The offers, which required that customers trade in a working iPhone 6 or 6S, came as competition heated up in the wireless market around Apple’s annual phone launch. T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S) said the free iPhone 7 promo prompted massive increases in sales from prior years, while AT&T (T) and Verizon said it led to more modest increases.
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Analysts said the promos may have aided Apple more that the carriers, since all four were making almost the same offer. The offers also required that customers stay with the carrier for two year or pay back a pro-rated share of the $650 price of a new iPhone 7.
With previously low expectations on Wall Street for iPhone 7 sales, Apple’s stock price has gotten a nice bounce from the carriers’ disclosures. Analysts had not anticipated that the big four wireless carriers would all offer such aggressive promotions.
Verizon officials have been among the least enthused in the industry about the iPhone 7 and the free offers.
“I know some of our competitors have made a big, big announcement around the iPhone 7 and how great it is. Of course, it’s great—it’s free,” Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said last week at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York. “We saw some increase in our volume from ’15 to today, but I kind of attribute that to zero—it’s free to the customer.”