Brightstar also handles trade-ins for AT&T Inc. and T-Mobile US Inc., as well as other carriers and device makers, amid brisk demand for refurbished iPhone 4s and 4Ss in emerging markets. By offering money for older smartphones, Apple and the wireless companies are seeking to entice consumers to upgrade to the latest models, while profiting through resales abroad.
AT&T pays as much as $200 for working iPhone 4 and 4S devices. This essentially lets customers get an iPhone 5 for no money down. It's unclear at this point how much Apple will be offering for your used device.
Israel Ganot, CEO at rival trade-in company Gazelle, says “the overall size of this market is increasing rapidly." Ganot estimates that 20% of customers will purchase a smartphone on trade-in this year, up from 11% in 2011.
The used iPhones collected in the U.S. will only be resold in emerging markets where the iPhone 5 is difficult to afford and Apple needs to boost market share, according to the site's source. That way, the resale of Apple’s older models won’t cannibalize iPhone 5 sales in the U.S., the person said.