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U.S. launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge upgrade program remains a mystery

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Jeffrey Van Camp/Digital Trends

Smartphone leasing programs are catching on big time in the U.S., and following Apple’s recent launch of a scheme for the iPhone, Samsung is joining the club.

Updated on 03-03-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in details of Samsung’s upgrade program in the U.K.

Samsung launched its upgrade program for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge in the U.K. on February 23. Customers are required to pay a 10 percent deposit up front, which is either £56.90 for the Galaxy S7 or £63.90 for the S7 Edge. The remaining portion will be financed over 24 months at 14.9 percent interest. That comes to £24.58 per month and a total of £646.82 for the Galaxy S7 or £27.60 per month and a total of £726.40 for the S7 Edge.

Customers will be able to trade in their phone (in good working condition) after 12 months for a new phone, presumably the Galaxy S8 or Galaxy S8 Edge. The remaining payments will be credited, and a new 24 month leasing program will commence.

According to ZDNet, Samsung will launch its rumored leasing program for the Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge starting March 11, 2016 in South Korea. Sources say the program will only be available at the company’s Digital Plaza and its own physical stores. It won’t be available at other carrier stores, which is where most South Koreans purchase their phones.

Customers will sign a 24-month installment plan, but they can trade in their phone for a newer one after 12 months, and all remaining payments from the original phone will be exempt.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge hands-on impressions

The bad news is that it appears customers will have to sign up and make payments through Samsung Card. which is an affiliate of the company. The good news is that users will be able to select whatever carrier they want, including SK Telecom, KT, and LG Uplus.

In September 2015, a Forbes report said Samsung could launch its own leasing program for Galaxy handsets “in the next several months.”

Leasing programs require a monthly fee in exchange for unlocked versions of handsets that can be exchanged when a new model appears. DT recently took a close look at the figures for Apple’s new scheme, called the iPhone Upgrade Program, to see how it compares with other more familiar ways of getting hold of the iPhone.

An unnamed industry executive claiming to have knowledge of Samsung’s plans said the scheme would be “similar” to the one announced recently by its Cupertino-based rival, adding, “It’s a no-brainer why they wouldn’t do this.”

Forbes’ source failed to provide any details on which Galaxy devices would be included and for how much, though should Samsung move ahead with its apparent plan, we’re sure to see a competitive offering designed to steal the spotlight from Apple while at the same time appealing to current Galaxy users and also those eyeing the brand.

Related: Get a new iPhone for as little as $15/mo with Apple’s new Trade Up program

Apple’s leasing plan starts at $32 a month for a 16GB iPhone 6S, topping out at $45 per month for the 128GB iPhone 6S Plus. The deal includes full AppleCare+ coverage, which covers handset repairs, accidental damage, and replacement if the device dies.

With leasing programs being pushed by the leading U.S. carriers as well as Apple, the fact that Samsung is now looking to get into the game is unlikely to come as too much of a surprise. We’ll be watching closely to see which devices it includes and how the company prices the deal, and will update as soon as we hear more.

Previous Updates:

Updated on 03-01-2016 by Robert Nazarian: Added in rumored launch date for South Korea.

This article was originally published on September 21, 2015.