Earlier this morning, it was reported that customers in Canada could pick up a Lumia 950 ($549) for free when they buy the more expensive Lumia 950 XL ($649). That deal is now live in the US too for customers willing to buy through the online Microsoft Store (it is not yet clear if physical Microsoft stores will honor the deal, but they likely would).
Last week, Microsoft reported their Q3 FY2016 numbers and only 2.3 million Lumias were sold. That number is a reflection of the low-key launch in the US and other markets where there was virtually no advertising. Combined with a reduced portfolio and the underperforming Lumia line is expected.
Interestingly enough, Microsoft during the post-earnings conference call noted a higher level of unsold stock of Lumias meaning even what they did project to sell did not. As a result, you are now seeing Microsoft evidently dumping extra stock through their stores through this deal.
While the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL have trouble competing with higher-end phones from Samsung or Apple the phones have improved significantly since their release with consistent and frequent OS and firmware updates. Indeed, picking up a Lumia 950 today is a vastly better experience than five months ago.
It is not yet known if Microsoft will expand this buy one, get one free deal to other territories.
The "free Lumia 950" deal is for unlocked devices (non-carrier), and the Lumia 950 comes only in black while supplies last. Customers can also grab a $25 T-Mobile pre-paid SIM for just $15 during the checkout process. The 10% student discount also works on this deal reducing further the overall cost. Both phones appear to be Dual Nano SIM.
Thanks, Aakash, for the tip!