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How do early phone trade-in plans work?

If two years is too long to wait for your next phone upgrade, these trade-in plans are for you.


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Just like a new car or a new TV, a new phone loses its shine over time. When you first get your mitts on the latest iPhone, it can seem fancy enough to last you not just the 24 months of your new contract, but the rest of your life.

Of course, all that comes crashing down once the next iPhone comes out one year later. The same goes for Samsung's Galaxy phones, or any other handset on the market. The fact is that mobile technology advances so fast that your new phone is practically outdated the second you take it out of its box.

Nevertheless, you don't have to drop thousands of dollars to experience the excitement of getting a new phone every year. Many of the big mobile providers now offer early phone trade-in programs on their 24-month phone plans, giving you the option of upgrading your handset every 12 months for a one-off fee instead of waiting another 12 months for your contract to end. These programs are ideal for tech lovers, but they all work a little differently, so let's take a look at each one:

Telstra New Phone Feelingtelstra-logo

Only available on selected 24-month phone plans, Telstra's "New Phone Feeling" program lets you upgrade to a new handset after 12 months for $149. You won't need to pay off your old handset, but you will need to return it to Telstra within 14 days in good condition. This can be done either at a Telstra store or through the post using a pre-paid satchel Telstra will send you.

Alternatively, you can pay out the remaining cost of your old handset and keep it while still taking advantage of the New Phone Feeling program. Either way, your new phone will come with a new 24-month contract, and your old contract will be terminated.

Compare Telstra's mobile plans

optus-logoOptus New Phone Trade Up

Available on Optus' latest 24-month My Plan Plus plans, the New Phone Trade Up program gives you the option to upgrade after 12 months for a fee of $99. Like Telstra, you'll need to return your current handset in good condition to a Yes Optus store and sign up for a new 24-month plan with your new phone.

Optus also gives you the option to purchase your old phone outright by paying off the remaining handset fees instead of paying the $99 upgrade fee. You can then sign up for a new 24-month contract and get a new phone while also keeping your old one.

Compare Optus' mobile plans

Vodafone's New Phone Every Yearvodafone-logo

Vodafone stopped offering its New Phone Every Year program as of August 2017. Customers who signed up to a 24-month Vodafone Red plan any time between 2 September 2016 and 15 August 2017 could still take advantage of the program for a time after that, but once recontracted, the trade-in option would no longer be available.

As with Optus and Telstra's programs, New Phone Every Year let you trade in your current handset in good condition after 12 months had passed on your current contract. To take up the offer, you needed to bring your current handset to any Vodafone store and pay a $149 upgrade fee to swap it for a new handset along with a fresh 24-month contract.

What is "good condition"?

Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all specify similar requirements for a phone to be in "good condition". These stipulate that the smartphone must be fully-functional with only minor scratches and normal wear and tear. The phone will need to be able to turn on and off, perform all its intended functions, have a working battery and have any device-activation or locking features such as Apple's Find My Phone disabled. Any phone with customised or non-original parts will not be eligible, either.

As part of each provider's trade-in program, you only need to return your handset along with its battery. Any accessories, including phone chargers, are yours to keep.

Bear in mind that, even if you believe your phone to be in good condition, each provider reserves the right to reject any phone it deems unsuitable.

What to do before sending your old phone back

Before you return your current handset, there are a number of important steps you'll want to follow both to protect your personal data and to ensure that your handset meets the conditions specified above.

  • Back up your contacts and personal files. Android and iOS both come with built-in backup tools for copying important data to SD cards, cloud storage services and your computer. For more information on how to back up your data, check out our iPhone backup guide and our Android switching guide.
  • Remove your SIM card and any SD cards from your phone. You'll need to install your SIM card in your new phone, and your SD card will make transferring contacts and files to your new phone much easier.
  • Deactivate any device-locking mechanisms. Any tool that's designed to lock your phone in the event of theft needs to be completely removed. The easiest way to do this is to reset your device to its factory settings. On iOS, you can do this by navigating to Settings > General > Reset > Erase All Content and Settings. On Android, you'll want to navigate to Settings > Accounts (*) > Backup and reset > Factory data reset.

* Some versions of Android may not have the Accounts category and instead display "Backup and reset" on the main settings screen.

Compare the latest Samsung and Apple phones on Telstra, Optus and Vodafone

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