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We crunched the numbers and compared the two-year cost of ownership with Sprint depending on whether you lease a phone, purchase it through Sprint’s Easy Pay program (read our review here), or purchase your phone outright or with an old fashioned subsidized contract.
The bottom line is that you can save almost $300 over 2-years by leasing with Sprint, and you will be able to update to the newest phone every year.
These savings more than offset any residual value of re-selling your used smartphone after 2 years (approximate value for a 2 year old 16 GB iPhone is $200). Plus, the lease puts you in a new device every year.
Easy Pay vs. Leasing Your New Smartphone
The Sprint leasing program currently offers their “Forever” or “iPhone Forever” program (depending on your phone of choice).
Essentially, if you lease an iPhone or popular Samsung phone, you can upgrade to the newest model whenever it comes out, without penalties or fees.
Yes, this does means you can switch to Sprint today (August 31st), lease an iPhone 6, and upgrade to the new iPhone 6s when it comes out. Without any sort of extra fees!
Act fast though. For now, Sprint says this “Forever” program will only be around through December 31, 2015. (I suspect it will be around longer.)
Whereas Easy Pay is Sprint’s variation of AT&T Next and the Verizon Plan. You are still required to enter into a 24 month contract, and you pay the full purchase price of your phone in installments over the life of the contract. You will also be required to pay the full sales tax upfront.
One plus is that with Easy Pay you finance the installments of a new smartphone at 0% APR.
FYI, Sprint also allows you to pay the full purchase price of your smartphone up-front (this is a no-contract plan), or buy it at a subsidized price and pay a higher monthly fee for data.
Sprint Data Plan Options
All Sprint plans discussed in this article involve unlimited talk and text. The only difference is how much data you share with a Sprint Family Plan.
Sprint only offers one data plan for individuals – it’s $60 unlimited high-speed data, talk and text plan.
Please note the cost of your data will be higher if you do not choose a Lease or Easy Pay phone. This is depicted in the Two Year Cost of Ownership below.
Family Data Plans
With the shared data packs available from Sprint, things get complicated.
Not only do you have to choose between the amount of data you want, you also need to take into account the per device access charge that may apply, depending on the family share plan you choose.
And, on top of that, the monthly cost of your data will also be higher if you do not choose to lease your phone or buy it with Easy Pay.
From our point of view, the pricing for the 10 GB plan seems to offer a sweet spot. After all, the access costs discourage you from taking a 4 GB or 8 GB family plan. So we will use the 10 GB plan in deterring our 2-Year Cost of Ownership with Sprint.
Two Year Cost of Ownership
Now that that is out of the way, we can discuss the two year cost of ownership with Sprint for:
- Individuals with the lease or purchase of a new 16 GB iPhone 6s.
- Family share plan with 10 GB of data and two new 16 GB iPhones.
We are limiting our discussion of new phone pricing to the cost for the latest 16GB iPhone. Pricing for other current, popular models will be similar. And, of course, pricing varies by storage. However, the popularity of the iPhone makes it a good choice as our base model for this discussion
Also note that current lease pricing for the 16 GB iPhone is $15/month, if you trade in an older smartphone. However, this is a promotional offer and will soon increase to $22/month.
LIMITED TIME OFFER FROM SPRINT
Also, we do not take into account the benefit of being able to sell your phone. This is because if you sell a phone, you will need to turn around and spend more on a new one. With a lease, you will actually be on your third phone by the time buyers are done with selling and buying a new one.
If you are curious, however, 1-year old 16 GB iPhones sell for about $400 and 2-year old 16 GB iPhones sell for about $200. But you must be willing to advertise and meet your seller somewhere to achieve those prices. You will get less if you turn them into a carrier.
You have to decide for yourself if you would like to be able to upgrade more frequently, or re-sell your phone at the end of your 2-year contract.
2 Year Cost of Ownership for Individuals: Unlimited Talk, Text & Data
- Lease: $1,800
- Easy Pay: $1,890
- Subsidized Contract: $2,040
- Full Price: $1,890
2 Year Cost of Ownership for 2 Lines with Unlimited Talk & Text and 10 GB Data
- Lease: $3,120
- Easy Pay: $3,700
- Contract: $3,760
- Full Price: $4,060
What If I Am Under Contract With Another Carrier?
Currently under contract with another carrier?
Sprint has a program where they will buy out your old contract!
And Sprint thinks it can save you money.
The only hitch to getting reimbursed for your early termination fees is that you need to turn in your phones and your bill from the old carrier. In return, you will receive a gift card to cover your early termination costs.
You must register for this promo within 60 days of switching to Sprint.
Sprint’s Network Speed and Reliability
You can check Sprint’s network coverage at Open Signal to get an idea of network coverage in your area.
Currently, Sprint is investing a ton of money to improve its network speeds and reliability. So I think this well be less of an issue than in the past.
Sprint Credit Requirements & Eligibility
Sprint does not require credit checks for an early upgrade option, if you want to buy a Certified Pre-Owned phone at full retail price or bring your own device to a plan.
Easy Pay and leasing/iPhone Forever will require a credit check, however, and signing up will move you to a new account. But it seems that there no credit requirements to actually sign up for Easy Pay or lease a phone through Sprint.
Instead, you may have a larger down payment necessary if you a credit score of less than 640 or so. You will also be required to pay a down payment if you are purchasing a tablet and have subprime credit. Along with your credit, the down payment required will depend on the smartphone, tablet or feature phone you choose.
You can use our wireless deposit calculator to find out what deposits others are making.
The Bottom Line
Sprint has a real hit with their lease and upgrade forever program!
I for one like the idea of switching to Sprint today, getting a new iPhone, and then getting another new iPhone next fall when the iPhone 7 launches.
If you do not need to upgrade every year, the Easy Pay program offers solid value, and you will own the phone at the end of your contract. This means you can reduce some of that two year cost of ownership by re-selling the phone when you upgrade. (Or keep it for 3 years are really save!).
You can save a ton of money and always have the latest phone with Sprint. This is not just compared to other Sprint options. This is compared to other carriers.
And while Sprint isn’t as well known for network speed and reliability as some competitors, our tests and tests by others find that the Sprint network is good in most areas, and usually adequate elsewhere. So this should not be an issue.