PhoneArena reports that Verizon's introducing a $100 trade-in incentive for people upgrading their dumbphone to a smartphone. In the fine print, the carrier dropped a major hint at when we'll see iPhone 5. Or more specifically, when we won't.

Here's the thing: The promotion is reportedly set to run from Aug. 18th to Sept. 30th. And if it just covers people who finally broke their old Nokia bricks and think HTC Sense looks pretty, it's going to be cost-effective for Big Red. The more data plans the merrier!


But running a promotion like this when iPhone 5 is in stores? That's suicide. Sure, they'd still get all those data plans. But they'd be giving away $100 to hundreds of thousands—millions, if the promotion ran long enough—of people who would have switched anyway after the launch. The opportunity cost is millions of dollars. Can't and won't happen. (And even in the unlikely event the iPhone 5 launch crosses paths with this promotion, expect there to be some fine print excluding the iPhone 5.)

It's not like this is a total revelation; early October has been leading the launch rumor horserace. But this could be an even surer sign. Verizon senior brass would know by now when iPhone 5 is coming so that they can make their own preparations. Such as making sure they don't give away free money around an iPhone launch. [PhoneArena]