The iPhone release is perhaps the one time that carriers know that they can easily add hundreds of thousands of customers to their service by offering the right kind of plans. Since the two-year subsidized contract model has become much less popular than it was, wireless plans have become a little cheaper for most people (check yours to make sure!).

The most eye-catching plans being offered are the ‘free’ iPhone 7 plans by At&t and Verizon. The two biggest carriers are trying to minimize the efflux of customers to smaller networks offering better deals and maybe even win a handy amount of new customers in the process.

The problem though with plans that sound too good to be true is that they usually are not. It is no different in this case. Here are the things that you need to know if you are considering jumping on these plans and getting yourself a ‘free iPhone’!

The first caveat is that these plans require you to trade in a well preserved, relatively new phone. These plans can only be accessed if you have an iPhone 6 and 6S in good working condition. So, no smashed screens or anything of that kind.

This is not entirely unheard of and people expect to trade in their phones but that 200$ fee ‘waiver that the carriers are advertising is being made good for by your not so old phone.

The next caveat is a lock-in. These plans are a throwback to the 2-year lock-in periods that typified iPhone plans for so long. If in case you want out before the time is up, then be prepared to shell put close to the full price of the phone. Oh and that phone that you traded in? Gone.

The carriers will deduct the amount of time you have completed on the contract and the payments that you have already made but be prepared to get short changed on that as well. The period which qualifies for deduction may or may not begin from the time you start using your new iPhone and the entire amount may not be deductible either.

So make sure that you love the iPhone 7 enough to commit to it for two years because when the next iPhone is released ( nd rumors say that it is going to be special), you just might want to go through this whole process again!

Also, these plans are for the iPhone 7 base configuration only. If you want the models with higher storage or an iPhone 7 plus then you will have to pay for the difference. There is also the likelihood that you will get saddled with fees that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. For example, activation fees or taxes on a ‘free’ device and other things like that.

So are these plans all bad? Not at all if you are sure that you want to keep the iPhone 7 around for two years. If you are the kinds that get excited about every new phone that is released then committing to these plans may not be the best idea for you.
Dhruv Gupta is an avid technology buff and thinks that Robots should rule the world. He cannot wait for the self-driving revolution to get here and the IoT to make all his stuff to know what he wants before he wants it. The Singularity is near.