NEW YORK (TheStreet) - Wal-Mart (WMT) is following in the footsteps of Best Buy (BBY), shedding their excess smartphone inventory through pricing deals for customers who buy their smartphone at one of Wal-Mart's participating stores.
The move comes as retailers gear up for the next versions of smartphones, due out within the next five months. Samsung's Galaxy S5 is due in stores in early April.
Wal-Mart announced Wednesday that it was lowering the price on the iPhone 5s 16GB to $119 from $145 and the iPhone 5c to $29 from $45. It's also dropping the price on the Samsung Galaxy S4 to $49 from $99.
The lower prices will be available for a minimum of 30 days, the retailer says. Customers must sign up for or renew a two-year contract through AT&T (T) or Verizon (VZ), but not Sprint (S). Approximately 3,400 Wal-Mart stores are participating.
Wal-Mart really wants to get rid of its Samsung phones. From March 9 through March 22, customers will receive a $50 Wal-Mart gift card with the purchase of any new Samsung phone with a two-year contract.
Hoping to make a dent in the refurbished phone industry, Wal-Mart is also playing up its trade-in service, which launched six months ago. Customers can trade in their current smartphones at participating stores for a credit up to $300 to be applied towards the purchase of a new phone. Any remaining difference is put on a Wal-Mart gift card, which can be used in stores, online or at Sam's Club.
Over the course of two days between Feb. 28 and March 1, Best Buy offered the iPhone 5s for just $1 to customers with iPhone 4s or 5 versions who traded in their phones.
Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target (TGT) have been battling it out to become consumers' store of choice for their smartphone and tablet needs. The price wars started in earnest this past holiday season, with all three retailers looking to boost their trade-in businesses.
--Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.