Virgin Media launches smartphone trade-in programme

(Image credit: O2)

Virgin Media has become the latest operator to offer customers the opportunity to trade-in their existing smartphone in exchange for money off a brand-new handset.

The company has tried to make the process as simple as possible. Any subscriber to a ‘Freestyle’ tariff that separates handset and airtime costs and apply for an upgrade, provided they agree to sign a new 24-month or 36-month contract.

Once the device has been valued and a trade-in agreed, Virgin Media sends the customer a new phone of their choice and a pre-paid envelope to send their old one back.

Virgin Media trade-in

Customers are free to upgrade again at any time, but should the value of the trade-in not cover the cost of the new phone, they will have to pay an additional fee.

Alternatively, Virgin Media users can simply get cashback for their old handset rather than enter into a new agreement.

“We want our customers to enjoy a flexible service that truly works for them,” said Annie Brooks, Executive Director of Product at Virgin Media. “We’ve been offering flexible airtime for many years, ensuring our mobile plans keep up with our customers’ ever changing needs, and now with our new Trade Up and Trade In offering, our customers have even more freedom to pick a new device whenever they desire – regardless of how long is left on their contract.”

Trade-in programmes are increasingly common because of the high cost of new handsets coupled with a reduced incentive to upgrade. By offering money against a new smartphone, Virgin Media encourages new handset sales and reduces churn by tying in users into a new contract.

“Virgin Media recognise that customers want more flexibility, together we’ll be bringing customers even more choice with a hassle-free way to turn their old device into cashback or an early upgrade to a great new phone,” added Gerry O’Keefe, VP at Brightstar, Virgin Media’s partner for the scheme.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.