Every carrier wants you to believe they have the best iPhone 6s offer in the history of the world… that’s if you can figure out exactly what they’re offering you. Sometimes you’ll think you’re buying a new iPhone from your carrier only to discover that you’re actually just leasing it. Other times you’ll bank on getting a giant trade-in credit for your old device only to find out it’s either not qualified or isn’t worth as much as you thought. But fear not! We’ve gone through all the four major carriers’ iPhone 6s offers and will break down exactly what they’re looking to sell you.
Note: For the purposes of this exercise we will be comparing carrier offers for the 16GB iPhone 6s. If you’re interested in buying a larger iPhone 6s with more storage, it will obviously cost more than the prices we’ve listed below.
The offers: Verizon is really only making one iPhone 6s offer as far as we can see: You’ll pay $27.08 per month over the span of 24 months to pay off the cost of your iPhone.
Trade-in goodies: You can get up to $400 back when you get your iPhone 6s from Verizon… but it’s very unlikely you’ll actually qualify for that much. You get a $100 credit if you switch to Verizon from another carrier and you can get up to $300 back for trading in your old phone. To see how much your old phone is worth (Spoiler: Probably not $300), check out Verizon’s appraisal page here.
The offers: Unlike Verizon’s simple one option for buying the iPhone 6s, AT&T gives us significantly more choices. In short, you can:
- Buy the device off contract for $649.99
- Buy it with a two-year service agreement for $199.99
- Buy it through AT&T’s Next 24 plan for $21.67 over the span of 30 months; through its Next 18 plan for $27.09 over 24 months; or through its Next 12 plan for $32.50 over 20 months.
Got all that? Note that numbers that accompany the different Next plans indicate when you’re eligible to upgrade to a new device. So Next 12 means you’ll be able to upgrade after 12 months, Next 18 means you’ll be able to upgrade within 18 months, and so forth.
Trade-in goodies: You can get up to a $300 credit when buying the iPhone 6s through one of AT&T’s Next plans. You’ll get $100 if you port an eligible number from another carrier, though you should note that numbers from prepaid carrier Cricket aren’t accepted. You can get a $200 trade-in credit for a smartphone that’s in working condition and that has a buyback value of at least $10. This sounds a lot better than the credit Verizon is offering, although beware that AT&T also says the device must “meet AT&T Buyback program requirements” as well.
The offers: Sprint this year is really pushing iPhone users to sign up for its iPhone Forever program that lets you lease the new iPhone for a limited time while giving you the option to trade the device in for a newer model whenever a new iPhone comes out. For a limited time, Sprint is offering an iPhone Forever plan that lets you pay just $15 per month for leasing the iPhone 6s as long as you trade in a working smartphone within 30 days of the start of the lease. Without a device trade in, you’ll pay $22 a month for the iPhone 6s on iPhone Forever.
iPhone Forever isn’t Sprint’s only offer, however — you can also pay $27.09 per month over 24 months; you can sign a two-year service agreement and pay $199.99 up front; and you can buy the device at full price for $649.99.
Trade-in goodies: If you trade in a working iPhone 6 and sign up for the iPhone Forever plan, you can pay just $1 a month for the iPhone 6s. That’s better than any other offer we’ve seen so far.
The offers: T-Mobile has a lot of different offers for the iPhone 6s. Here’s a table that shows them all:
So to sum up: With Jump! On Demand leasing program, you’ll always pay $0 down. From there you will pay between $5 and $20 per month depending on the phone you trade in. Trading in no phone means paying $20 a month; trading in an iPhone 5 or iPhone 5c means paying $15 a month; trading in an iPhone 5s, Galaxy S5 or Galaxy Note 4 means paying $10 a month; trading in an iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, Galaxy S6, Galaxy S6 edge, Galaxy S6 edge+ or Galaxy Note 5 means paying $5 a month.
If you don’t buy with Jump! On Demand, you’ll pay T-Mobile $27.06 per month over a 24-month period for the 16GB iPhone 6s.
The bottom line: Sprint and T-Mobile have the most aggressive iPhone 6s offers, although you’ll need to trade in a pretty recently purchased flagship phone to take advantage of both of them. Verizon has the simplest offers for the iPhone 6s, although it’s also the least compelling. AT&T’s offers are somewhere in between.
Of course you’ll also have to factor in coverage where you live — Sprint and T-Mobile often struggle in many rural markets, so Verizon and AT&T might still be the best option for you if you don’t live in a city.