Sprint now lets you lease your smartphone instead of purchasing it

Sprint
Paul Jantz/123RF

Sprint’s new leasing program aims to keep customers from struggling with whether they should purchase a particular smartphone or not. Similar to the existing plans the company has for the Samsung Galaxy and iPhones, Sprint Flex and Sprint Deals let customers lease any phone — based on its “value menu” of smartphone options — and upgrade to a new device after one year.

Sprint is currently the only carrier that allows customers to lease phones and return them in exchange for another device. The plan is its latest effort to give customers the opportunity to own the latest smartphones without having to shell out a large sum of money on the spot.

After choosing a phone under the Flex plan, you can lease it for 18 months and swap it out for a new phone or keep the one you already have and pay it off completely in one installment. If you want to keep the device but don’t have the money to pay it off right away, you can opt for six more monthly payments, with past lease payments counting toward the purchase price. Another option is to pay $5 a month extra and upgrade the device after one year instead.

With Sprint Deals, customers who let Sprint check their credit can qualify for a Sprint Flex postpaid plan that will ultimately make the smartphone more affordable. For entry-level models like the Alcatel Go Flip, LG Tribute HD and the ZTE Max XL, customers put $25 down and pay $5 per month. Higher-end devices like the iPhone 6s, LG X power, and Samsung Galaxy S6, are $30 down and $10 per month.

If you choose to avoid the credit check, you’ll receive an additional discount instantly — 50 percent off entry-level smartphones and 25 percent off high-end devices — but only if you’re on the Sprint Forward prepaid plan. With both of the Sprint Deals offers, customers still have the option of upgrading to a new device after 12 consecutive and on-time monthly payments.

Sprint is clearly making it known that it wants you to drop your current network. The announcement comes a month after it offered customers one year of free unlimited data for switching carriers — that’s on top of currently offering four lines of unlimited data, talk, and text for $90 with the fifth line free.