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Verizon jumps on annual iPhone upgrade bandwagon with new trade-in offer

Following the announcement of new iPhone upgrade incentives this week, first by T-Mobile then Sprint, America's largest wireless carrier Verizon debuted its own yearly upgrade path on Thursday, saying it offers benefits over lease-type plans.

Under Verizon's stipulations, customers can upgrade to a new iPhone every year once they pay out half of a device's retail cost and trade in that unit for a new one, reports Re/code. The offer will be automatically activated as an option for anyone purchasing an iPhone 6s or 6s Plus, including preorder customers.

Instead of being introduced as a separate pricing scheme, Verizon's annual iPhone upgrade program coexists with the current 24-month financing plan. The option is more flexible than competing device lease offers, according to the company.

"If you're not interested in upgrading, you still have the option to pay your phone off in 24 low monthly payments," Verizon said. "That's a better option than those "lease plans" offered by other companies, which can include surprise balloon payments just 18 months into your agreement, or ask you to turn over your phone without getting anything for it."

T-Mobile earlier this week announced a similar iPhone trade-in promotion attached to its Jump On Demand service in which customers can nab a new iPhone 6s for as little as $5 per month. Final monthly fees are calculated based on the device traded in.

Sprint responded to T-Mobile's push on Thursday with a discounted lease plan costing only $1 per month for 16GB iPhone 6s. To get that price, however, qualifying customers must sign up for Sprint's iPhone Forever payment plan and trade in an iPhone 6. Higher monthly rates are charged for older device trade-ins which, unlike T-Mobile's promotion, are limited to iPhone.