Verizon kills free 5G upgrade deal after reporting 'increased' 5G adoption

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Verizon kills free 5G upgrade deal after reporting 'increased' 5G adoption
Just in case the best budget 5G phones out there are not affordable enough to get you to leave your outdated 4G LTE-only device behind at last, the big three US carriers have been throwing free flagships at their subscribers like crazy over the past few months to try to jack up those crucial 5G adoption numbers.

Unsurprisingly, that very simple and effective strategy appears to have worked like a charm for Verizon. The nation's largest wireless service provider didn't exactly enjoy the best year-opening quarter, losing 225,000 postpaid phone customers between January and March 2021, but somehow, Big Red managed to quickly turn things around, reporting a solid 197,000 phone net additions for Q2.

Great deals = great financial numbers


Of course, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess this sudden growth may have had a little something to do with the operator's "biggest 5G upgrade campaign ever."

Kicked off at the beginning of June, the T-Mobile and AT&T-rivaling promotion offered both new and existing customers an easy path towards a gratis Apple iPhone 12 mini or Samsung Galaxy S21 with built-in 5G connectivity.


All you had to do was trade in an existing device and opt for one of Verizon's "best" (read costliest) unlimited plans. The amazing thing about this deal is that any phone was eligible for a trade-in, be it old or new, fully functional or heavily damaged, including broken and cracked screens.

If that sounds like something you'd be interested in right now, we're sad to inform you that the promo has ended with little to no advance notice yesterday, which begs a pretty obvious question. 

Can Big Red sustain the "increased 5G adoption" touted in its latest earnings report going forward without having to resort to other extensive "5G upgrade campaigns"? Many financial analysts are skeptical, which is naturally good news for consumers but not so much for investors.

No deals, little to no growth prospects 


For its part, Verizon now believes wireless service revenue will grow by a larger margin than previously anticipated. The carrier is also confident a swift C-band deployment will help its 5G network catch up to T-Mobile and Sprint's combined assets while planning further 5G Ultra Wideband and 5G Home expansions as well.

But not everyone agrees with RootMetrics when it comes to evaluating the best "overall network performance", let alone the best 5G experience, and analysts warn Verizon may need to accept either "uninspiring subscriber results" or lower prices (and lower resulting profits) in the long run.


Neither perspective is particularly encouraging, of course, but the transition from 4G LTE to 5G technology was always going to be tricky for all of the major US mobile network operators. And while engaging in a full-blown price war with T-Mobile sounds, well, suicidal, that still beats charging special fees for 5G service, small fortunes for premium 5G phones, and hoping for the best.

After all, this is the same carrier that stubbornly refuses to improve the value of its top unlimited 5G plan in line with the competition while occasionally still overcharging its customers for devices supporting mmWave speeds that are far more impressive in theory than out in the real world. 

If you ask us, Verizon needs more "5G upgrade campaigns" and free 5G phone deals rather than less if it wants to stay competitive in the face of its rivals' super-aggressive promotions and buzzworthy publicity stunts.

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