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Sprint becomes last major carrier to eliminate two-year smartphone contracts

By Shawn Knight
Jan 9, 2016
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  1. Late last year, AT&T confirmed it would be eliminating two-year service agreements in the New Year. The nation's second largest wireless provider made good on that promise Friday in the midst of CES, leaving fourth-place Sprint as the only major carrier still pushing subsidized smartphones.

    If a leaked internal document obtained by Android Central is legit, however, Sprint has just done away with smartphone contracts as well.

    A screenshot of the document says customers activating a new account no longer have the option to purchase phones using two-year contracts to take advantage of device subsidies. Tablets are apparently still fair game, however. Subsidy agreements for phones can now only be offered on a reactive basis to select customers.

    A quick check of Sprint's website reveals that phones can only be purchased via payment plans or by paying in full. What's more, Fierce Wireless said Sprint CFO Tarek Robbiati all but confirmed the move during an investor conference yesterday.

    T-Mobile eliminated phone subsidies in early 2013, a decision that set in motion a complete transformation of the wireless industry. Rather than have to wait two years to get a new phone, consumers are now free to upgrade handsets multiple times a year through various early upgrade and leasing programs.

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 1,682   +787

    Finally!
     
  3. ikesmasher

    ikesmasher TS Evangelist Posts: 2,561   +862

    I havent been following, so for clarification..Instead of having 2 year contracts with cheap phones now, you pay lease for the phone monthly? can you still bring your own phone to all of them?
     
  4. seefizzle

    seefizzle TS Addict Posts: 278   +142

    You can't bring any phone to any carrier, that's for sure. The different carriers still use different radio technologies so an att phone won't work on verizon's network for example.
     
    ikesmasher likes this.
  5. SantistaUSA

    SantistaUSA TS Booster Posts: 72   +13

    You can bring your own phone as long as it is compatible with the carrier's network just like seefizzle said.
     
  6. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,514   +2,059

    What I don't understand is how people, who could barely afford a burger from McDonald's, but still used to walk around with an iPhone 6S Plus or a S6 Edge+ in their pockets are going to cope without the carrier subsidies.
     
    trgz likes this.
  7. Camikazi

    Camikazi TS Maniac Posts: 818   +231

    Probably because what they do now is actually cheaper than the subsidized phones :p Before you were usually more than the cost of the pone over the life of the contract, but now the actual price of the phone (usually retail price) is built into the monthly cost and once that part is paid it is removed from your monthly bill. I have a Note 3 that is paid off and once it was paid off (T-Mobile shows you how much you have left) my bill went down by $30 a month, I think the others do the same thing now too.
     
  8. ShadowDeath

    ShadowDeath TS Enthusiast Posts: 78   +12

    Actually Sprint technically isn't. While Verizon claims they don't have a 2 year contract the fact that I can't trade in my Nexus 6 until after 2 years on the "Edge" program suggests that the 2 year contract is still there but named differently.
     
  9. JamesandBennie

    JamesandBennie TS Booster Posts: 162   +14

    Leasing = Churn Killer = Long Term Contract = Anything Sprint can do to stop losing customers
     
  10. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,514   +2,059

    Oh! OK then. So there's still a lot of snake oil involved I assume. Wireless carriers aren't in the habit of losing money and when they shut down one money making racket there's always another, more profitable one to take it's place.
     

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