Early upgrade and trade-in phone plans: how do they work?

13 September 2016

For phone geeks like us, there are few things more exciting than ripping the plastic off a new smartphone. Signing a two-year contract for a new phone on a plan is a great way to spread the cost of new phone out over time, but waiting two years for a new phone can be excruciating. 

Thankfully all of the major Aussie carriers now has a way to speed things up. Telstra, Optus and Vodafone all offer the chance to trade-in your current phone after completing just 12-months of the contract, and sign a new contract with a brand, new phone.

The carriers each have a different name for these early upgrade programs, but they all essentially work the same. You give them your current phone, in good working order, you pay a fee, and they waive the rest of your contract and let you start again.

Here is the offers in a little more detail:

Telstra New Phone Feeling

  • Admin fee: $149.
  • Return your phone in good condition, either at a Telstra shop or posting it in within 14 days.
  • Sign up for a new 24-month contract with a new phone.
  • You must be on an eligible plan to begin with, this includes current Go Mobile plans.

Optus New Phone Trade Up

  • Admin fee: $99
  • Return the phone to an Optus store.
  • Sign a new 24-month contract, choose a new phone.

Vodafone New Phone Every Year

  • Admin fee: $149
  • Visit a Vodafone store with your current phone.
  • Choose your new phone and sign up to a new plan.

What is ‘good working condition’?

All of the carriers require the phone you trade in to be in working order, and though they each explain it slightly differently, the same basic principles apply (and are commonsense). 

  • Must turn on and work as expected.
  • No cracked screens.
  • No major cosmetic damage. Wear and tear is OK.
  • No obvious water damage.
  • Phone hasn’t been reported lost or stolen (they check your IMEI number to confirm this). 
  • Isn’t software or network locked, and that you’ve disconnected your iCloud account for iPhones.

New phone also means a hot new plan

While grabbing the latest phone model may seem like incentive enough, upgrading to a new plan is the unsung hero of these early upgrade offers.

Many Aussies change phone plans every two years, and few follow the changes in the market during the times between, but trust us: a lot can happen in two years.

Data inclusions have exploded in the past 24-months. Plans that may have include 2GB or 3GB in the past now income with 5GB or more. There are also a number of new plan features: free subscriptions to online services, increases in international calls, better international roaming rates. Unless you know about these changes, there is a good chance that your old plan doesn’t support them. Changing your plan each year is a great way to stay in touch.

New phone in store image vida Shutterstock

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