Update: It’s official. Sprint issued the following statement to PhoneScoop yesterday: “Beginning September 9, Sprint is introducing a new pro-rated policy for ETFs for customers purchasing advanced devices such as smartphones, tablets, notebooks and netbooks. Customers with these advanced devices will be subject to a $350 ETF, which will be pro-rated based on the number of months remaining, should they decide to cancel service before the end of their service agreement.”
Two year contracts, the bane of the mobile industry, are something that doesn’t get talked about for some odd reason. People have no problem plunking down $500 on a tablet or $600 on a sub standard laptop, but ask them to put up the same amount of dough for the latest flagship smartphone to hit the market and they’ll look at you like you’re asking them to sacrifice their first born. This is the reality that plagues the United States. Operators of course love two year contracts because they’ve got you locked in as their customer. You can always cancel your contract earlier, but it’ll cost you. These days Sprint will charge you $200 to break contract, but rumor has it that starting September 9th that number will get bumped up to $350. That’s a massive increase, and it’s been said that Sprint made this decision because their portfolio now includes more smartphones than ever, and said smartphones cost more than most of the feature phones they’ve offered in the past.
Is there any way to get around this? Sure, don’t sign a contract and pay whatever it is you have to pay for your phone up front. If you’re on AT&T, Sprit, or Verizon, they sadly will not lower your monthly bill compared to someone who is on contract, which is frankly insulting since said person’s bill also includes a monthly subsidy that pays off for their device, while your bill doesn’t. Luckily T-Mobile offers lower phone bills if you bring your own device to their network, which is rather easy to do since they’re a GSM operator. No, you can’t enjoy 3G on the iPhone 4 if you use T-Mobile, but at least you can use a Nexus S and save yourself some cash. Some rumors say the iPhone 5 will support T-Mobile’s 4G network.
Anyway, will this make you less likely to sign up for Sprint, or does nothing change since you don’t cancel contracts anyway?
[Image above is of Dan Hesse, CEO of Sprint]