Apple introduced a way to pay for your iPhone monthly without having to use a carrier, and Chinese mobile giant ZTE plans to offer a similar service in the coming months. The program is a ‘lease-to-own’ deal where the customer pays for their new phone monthly, and at the end of the payment period owns the device. If a new smartphone is announced, you can return the old one to ZTE and begin another contract.
“We are introducing leasing options because we believe advanced mobile technology should be available to everyone. We also want the experience of purchasing and using a ZTE device to be easy for any consumer,” said Lixin Cheng, CEO of ZTE USA.
ZTE has partnered with SmartPay, a leader in the leasing market, to offer the program. The contracts range from six to 24 months, but in some states, there will only be one contract available. Information will be provided on your state’s laws before you pay.
Even customers with low credit scores are urged to apply. ZTE wants to make it easy for anyone to buy its smartphones, regardless of their income bracket. Customers need to add a debit card at the start of the contract, however, and may be charged as much as 20 percent of the phone’s cost upfront.
ZTE might not be considered a big deal in the United States, but it is currently the fourth largest mobile phone vendor for carrier phones, and the second for non-carrier devices. It is the fifth largest device manufacturer in the world, behind Apple, Samsung, Huawei, and Xiaomi.
ZTE plans to make most of its devices available on the program, but a few phones will still remain unavailable in the States, even though they launched in China more than six months ago. You can check out the press release on the program here.
We’ll update this post with more information on the leasing plan once it goes live or more information is available.