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Verizon Brings Back Free 5G Phone Upgrade Promotion for New and Existing Customers

You will, however, need to be on one of the carrier's recent unlimited plans.

iPhone 13 Pro, Sierra blue
Verizon is once again offering deep discounts on upgrades for 5G phones like the iPhone 13 Pro. 
Stephen Shankland/CNET

After offering a big 5G upgrade promotion last year, Verizon is bringing back a version of the deal for 2022 as it tries to get people to move onto its latest unlimited plans and 5G devices. 

On Thursday the carrier announced that it will be offering up to $800 off a new iPhone 13, in essence allowing for a free iPhone 13 Mini or 128GB iPhone 13 or a heavily discounted 13 Pro or 13 Pro Max. A variety of 5G Android phones are also eligible, including Google's Pixel 6 line and Samsung's S22 line, Z Flip 3 and Z Fold 3

As with prior promotions, you will need to trade in a phone to get the discount, with the exact value of the credit you get depending on a few factors, including which device you are trading in. Verizon will accept trade-ins of broken phones, so long as they don't have any battery damage. The value of the trade-in will also vary based on the plan you have, with those on Start getting a maximum credit of $400, while those on the pricier Play More/Do More/Get More will be able to get up to the full $800.  

Verizon is making the deal available to both new and existing users so long as they have or upgrade to its Start, Play More, Do More or Get More unlimited plans. The discount will be doled out as bill credits over the course of 36 months, incentivizing you to stick with the carrier. If you leave Verizon before the 36 months are up, you will forfeit the remaining bill credits and need to pay off the balance of what's owed on the device. 

While Verizon does include the cheaper Start plan in this deal, it is not changing up its unlimited plans, and those on its most affordable unlimited option will still not be able to tap into its fastest 5G networks (what it calls "5G Ultra Wideband") even with an iPhone 13. To get access to all of the carrier's 5G networks, you will still need to be on a Play More, Do More or Get More plan. 

The new promotion comes just two weeks after Verizon reported losing 292,000 postpaid phone customers in the first quarter of the year. The carrier blamed the losses on "competitive dynamics," though it is clearly hoping that more competitive device offers will help shift those dynamics in its favor and keep people tied to its network for years to come.