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Verizon Launches Its iPhone; How It May Help You

NEW YORK -- A recent study revealed 10 percent of people say they plan to switch wireless providers in the next 90 days.

And, observes CBS News Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis, while that spells a big opportunity for wireless carriers, it can also mean big savings for customers.

Verizon rolls out the iPhone 4 in stores today and expects to sell 11 million of them this year, and fellow wireless providers AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile are battling it out with their own promotions, trying to win the war with big bargains and better service.

There are the official deals, such as free mobile-to-mobile calling and free smart phones.

And then, Jarvis points out, there are the unofficial deals you can get just by picking up the phone.

CBS News staffers were asked to see how good a deal they could get, by bargaining with their mobile phone companies.

From free texting, to free minutes -- even a $30 a month discount -- each cell provider offered something extra. In all, they found savings of about $360 a year, and all the staffers who called agreed it was worth their time.

So, Jarvis stressed, whether you're thinking of getting the iPhone from Verizon or staying with your current carrier or phone, the winner of the cell phone war -- can be you.

What should people say to get good deals?

"You kind of have to let them know you're thinking about switching plans," Jarvis explained to "Early Show" co-anchor Rebecca Jarvis. "They really want to keep you. All of these cell phone carriers, the providers, they want to keep your business. And they're willing to play ball if you're saying to them, 'Well, I might be walking away." And that was how we got it.

"Another important thing to do is to ask them how many minutes you are using. Ask them to look into your plan. I did that with Verizon. I have a Verizon BlackBerry, and they'll tell you just how much usage you have, so if it makes sense for you to switch to some lower, less expensive plan, you have that information right there."

But how do you know the deal you're being offered is actually the best one?

"When I called up," Jarvis responded, "I was looking on all of their (the carriers') websites. I had done all the research ahead of time to say what on the website is the lowest cost for a particular service. When you tell them that number on the phone and say, 'Can you meet that number or can you go lower than that number?' that's what you really need to know, so you know if you're actually getting a deal. Obviously, you always have to do your diligence when it comes to deals."

It's not always free to switch, Hill noted, so how can you keep costs down if you decide to go to another provider?

"One way is to trade in your device," Jarvis suggested. "For example, with the iPhone right now, Verizon is running an offer where they say, 'If you come to us and you have an iPhone with, say, AT&T, we can have you turn it in for a little bit of money, so you're not out (all of) whatever you spent on the device initially. So there are these programs. Also, check out eBay and Gazelle. Both are websites where you can sell online the device that you've purchased through another provider."