Mobile Devices

September 10, 2013

Trade in Your Smartphone Program Coming to Walmart

A program gaining ground lately is the idea of the smartphone trade-in. Several ads have reflected the common frustration shared by many mobile phone users who would love to have the biggest and best, but are forbidden from getting said devices by the terms of the contract taken out to get the last biggest and best device. So many mobile providers are turning to trade-in programs to help users get access to the best phones faster, and joining the fray is a somewhat unlikely mobile provider: Walmart.

Starting Sept. 21, Walmart will roll out its trade-in program which allows users to get a credit for trading in a working, undamaged phone. The amount of the credit varies based upon the device traded in, and ranges from $50 to $300 based on the device's overall condition and the model traded in. Said credit can then be applied toward the purchase of a new device, including several smartphones that come with prepaid plans.

To trade in the device, simply take it to the electronics sections of over 3,600 Walmart and Sam's Club locations throughout the U.S., but it was also noted that those who took advantage of the trade-in program would be required to enter a new two-year contract with Verizon, AT&T, or Sprint in order to get in on the action.

Trade-in programs for smartphones are really nothing new; Walmart's actually a bit behind the curve on this one. Some like to point to the T-Mobile “Jump” program as the one that really got the ball rolling, because not too long after T-Mobile started offering a way for users to bring in a phone to get a newer phone while remaining in contract, the remaining major carriers—Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint—brought out similar programs. While some question the overall value of the competition's offerings, there's simply no denying that said offerings now exist.

Those are options at the carrier level, and programs like those offered by Best Buy and Gazelle among several others are also worth considering—one of the most recent includes Apple's trade-in program—so really, Walmart is coming late to this particular party. But given the amount of locations involved and the numbers of people who turn to Walmart when it comes to purchasing devices, it will likely be a welcome addition nonetheless, especially for users eager to get the newest hardware, but not eager to wait out the terms of a contract to get access to that hardware.

With more people coming on board with smartphones, and more devices emerging on a regular basis, the desire to jump ship and get a new smartphone when the better devices emerge is going to be a big consideration for a lot of users. The more that the carriers can do to accommodate that desire, the better off said carriers will be in the end as that's likely to increase the number of users that will go to that carrier for service. Walmart may be getting in on this one late, but “better late than never” is a phrase that's held truth for more than one vendor in the past.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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