Sprint seems to be moving in device strategy direction that is different from all three of the of the other largest mobile service providers in the U.S. market. Sprint unveiled a new device program for iPhone customers that dispenses entirely with the “ownership” model and instead substitutes a “lease your phone” approach.
The “iPhone Forever” program offers new and upgrade eligible Sprint customers the lease of an iPhone for $22 per month.
Any customer on the plan can return their current model iPhone and get the latest model.
“They bring their iPhone, upgrade on the spot and away they go,” Sprint says. The iPhone Forever plan presently offers a 16GB iPhone 6 model at Sprint branded retail stores, Sprint.com, 1-800-Sprint-1, Best Buy and Target.
T-Mobile US had abandoned contracts two years ago. AT&T has kept the option, though AT&T is encouraging customers to move to its installment plans.
Verizon Wireless, meanwhile, has decided to get out of the contract business as well, replacing contracts with the ability to buy a phone on an installment plan .
Through Dec. 31, 2015, customers on any other carrier or existing Sprint customers who are upgrade eligible and turn-in any smartphone will get a promotional rate of just $15 per month on a new iPhone. When they upgrade to the latest iPhone after Dec. 31, their monthly lease rate returns to current lease pricing, $22 per month.
The point, though, is that Sprint might further shift in the direction of leasing phones, not selling them.