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Carriers so far have had a more measured promotional response to the highly anticipated iPhone 8 release, compared to last year’s launch when subsidies for free or discounted devices reigned supreme and heavily weighed on margins, according to Jeffries’ analysts. 

Deals from Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint appeared centered around trade-ins for old devices, which Jeffries analyst Mike McCormack said will allow carriers to optimize the residual value from prior generation iPhones.

Verizon is offering up to $300 dollars for eligible trade-ins, while T-Mobile’s promoting $300 off for trade-ins of the iPhone 6 or later. Sprint is also targeting a smaller subset, but offering 50 percent off monthly lease payments with trade-ins of the iPhone 7.

McCormack said AT&T appears to be the most aggressive, reportedly offering a buy-on-get-one-free deal, though that has not been confirmed.

“Investors are apt to look favorably on the rational behavior, which could soften the margin impact of this upgrade cycle,” Jeffries’ analysts observe.

They also anticipate lower upgrade rates.

“While the release of new devices will drive higher upgrades in 2H, we expect adoption of EIP [equipment installment plan] has driven customers to hold onto phones longer; this will likely drive lower upgrade rates than seen in historical iconic device launches,” the analysts say.

 

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