We know that if young people are exposed to certain ideas they will form long lasting memories. And, we know that giving away a product and then charging for using it creates a long running cash stream. So, giving phones to kids will cover both these points and ensure long term cuntomers.
Well, I'm pretty sure this approach would bankrupt any company. :-) The average smartphone nowadays cost anywhere between $300-$900. Once the kids get said free phones what would stop them and leave for any other company?
You can get "free" phones with koodo even today. With their TAB offers.