• Radio Shack Will Offer Trade-Ins on Old Phones

    AppleInsider reports that Radio Shack, which is getting ready to become the next retail outlet for the iPhone in the US, will offer a trade-in program to users of smartphones who wish to upgrade or switch. According to the report, the electronics chain will be the number two retailer in terms of the number of outlets, after giant Walmart.

    New iPhones are sold through Apple, AT&T, Best Buy and Walmart in the United States, and Radio Shack's arrangement to become the fifth retailer to carry the popular phone was viewed by financial analysts as a major coup. When the deal was announced in November, the price of the stock shot up 10%. The company started by selling the phone in stores that it directly owned in the New York City area as well as the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area in Texas. Since January, Radio Shack has added the iPhone in hundreds more franchise stores each week as it works towards a target of three thousand stores nationwide by March 28.

    According to the AppleInsider report, Radio Shack will use a major sales circular that will be distributed with Sunday papers across the United States to announce pricing for the iPhone. If the report is correct, Radio Shack's prices will be lower - but just slightly - than any other US retailer's: $95 for the 8GB iPhone 3G, $195 for the 16GB iPhone 3GS, and $295 for the 32GB iPhone 3GS with the customary 2-year contract. Walmart charges $97, $197 and $297 respectively, while iPhones at Best Buy, AT&T and Apple cost $2 more.

    The most significant difference, however, will be that the Trade-In Program that Radio Shack has for old electronics will also be good for iPhone purchases. The program offers Radio Shack gift cards in exchange for phones, cameras, MP3 players, game consoles, video games, or GPS receivers, with a 16GB iPhone 3GS in decent condition worth as much as $171 in credit. A BlackBerry Bold 9000 could bring in as much as $143, and well-maintained MyTouch 3G and Palm Pre smartphones could be worth up to $120 each.

    The trade-in deals will likely boost Radio Shack's sales, and broaden potential iPhone buyers to current smartphone owners who are ready to switch. AppleInsider's report also says that Radio Shack employees are being offered about double the sales commission for new iPhone activations: up to $30 or more, according to "people familiar with the matter."
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