Sprint is hoping that updates to its phone leasing program and the option to upgrade any smartphone annually will help improve its standing in the wireless market. The company has been taking some drastic steps lately in pursuit of that goal — including offering new customers an entire year of free, unlimited data service with relatively few strings attached. Now, Sprint will let subscribers lease any smartphone it sells and upgrade in 12 months. Previously that deal was only good for iPhone and Samsung Galaxy smartphone customers.
With this update, you can pay an extra $5 per month on top of your recurring leasing cost to trade in and upgrade in a only a year versus the normal 18 months. (iPhone and Galaxy users arent required to pay that added fee.) Every major carrier offers this type of pay-monthly-and-trade-towards-new-phone payment plan, but Sprint is unique in that it leases you the device. Depending on how you feel about leasing, that will either sound gross or convenient. I don’t really get the appeal, personally — especially for a phone.
If you’re not so eager that you need an annual upgrade, there are other options with Sprint Flex. After 18 months, you can choose to swap your phone and keep leasing something newer, or buy the device either outright or with six more monthly installments. You can also just keep on paying the lease fee every month or return the phone to Sprint after 18 months and be done with it. Those last two would strike me as the worst choices, but hey. As always, it’s worth reading through the FAQs to see if Sprint’s new options make financial sense or you. Sprint is also making a move for consumers who are price-sensitive or those with iffy credit through a new offer it’s calling Sprint Deals, where you can make a downpayment and get low monthly rates on older and pre-owned devices like the iPhone 6S and Galaxy S6.
Last month, it was reported that Sprint is discussing potential partnership deals with both Comcast and Charter that would see the cable companies utilize Sprint’s network to sell wireless service under their own branding. The three companies agreed to a two-month exclusivity window for negotiations — at least temporarily hitting pause on what’s often been viewed as an inevitable merger between Sprint and rival T-Mobile.